Power Electronics

Thermacore Awarded Contract Extension for Active Heat Sink Technology

Thermacore was awarded a $3 million Option Phase contract extension by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to continue the development and commercialization of active heat sink technologies for Micro-technologies for Air-Cooled Exchangers (MACE). The original contract had been awarded in December 2008 and is worth $9.5 million.

To qualify for the contract extension, Thermacore successfully created a thermal solution demonstrator using a combination of existing and developmental heat transfer technology that exceeded the requirements of the initial 24-month "base effort" phase of the contract. The solution's heat flux was more than double the contract's requirements, and thermal resistance was 10 percent lower than what was originally proposed. The requirements included a power/heat input capability of one kilowatt, a volume of four inches by four inches by four inches, a mass of 800 grams or less, thermal resistance less than 0.05 degrees C/Watt and electrical power consumption of 33 Watts or less. In the current Option Phase, which runs from Oct. 1, 2010 through Jan. 1, 2012, Thermacore will commercialize and re-engineer the technology for more specific applications and incorporate active heat sink technology to improve thermal performance even further.

The goal of the MACE program is to harness active micro-technologies for radical improvements in heat sink thermal performance to cool military electronic systems used for telecommunications, active sensing and imaging, radar and other functions. Thermacore is partnering with the University of Minnesota, Lockheed Martin Company and the Bergquist Torrington Company on developing the technology.

Thermacore's work on the MACE project is closely related to another project commissioned by DARPA where the company contributed to the development of a new cooling system for military and automotive electronics applications. Specifically, the newly developed advanced cooling system can handle roughly 10 times the heat generated by conventional computer chips. The technology developed in the MACE program will allow that heat to move more efficiently into the airstream.

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