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Air Cooled Compact Heat Exchanger Design for Avionics Thermal Management Using Published Test Data

[+] Author Affiliations
George Hall, James Marthinuss, Jr.

Northrop Grumman Electronics Systems, Linthicum, MD

Paper No. IPACK2003-35362, pp. 705-711; 7 pages
  • ASME 2003 International Electronic Packaging Technical Conference and Exhibition
  • 2003 International Electronic Packaging Technical Conference and Exhibition, Volume 2
  • Maui, Hawaii, USA, July 6–11, 2003
  • Conference Sponsors: Electronic and Photonic Packaging Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-3690-8 | eISBN: 0-7918-3674-6
  • Copyright © 2003 by ASME


This paper will discuss air-cooled compact heat exchanger design using published data. Kays & London’s “Compact Heat Exchangers” [1] contains measured heat transfer and pressure drop data on a variety of circular and rectangular passages including circular tubes, tube banks, straight fins, louvered fins, strip or lanced offset fins, wavy fins and pin fins. While “Compact Heat Exchangers” is the benchmark for air cooled heat exchanger test data it makes no attempt to summarize the results or steer the thermal designer to an optimized design based on the different factors or combination of heat transfer, pressure drop, size, weight, or even cost. Using this reduced data and the analytical solutions provided highly efficient compact heat exchangers could be designed. This paper will guide a thermal engineer toward this optimized design without having to run trade studies on every possible heat exchanger design configuration. Typical applications of published fin data in the aerospace and military electronics include electronics cold plates, card rack walls and air-to-air heat exchangers using fan driven and ECS driven air. Airborne electronics often require extremely dense packaging techniques to fit all the required functions into the available volume. While leaving little room for cooling hardware this also drives power densities up to levels (20 W/sq-cm) that require highly efficient heat transfer techniques. Several design issues are discussed including pressure drop, heat transfer, compactness, axial conduction, flow distribution and passage irregularities (bosses). Comparisons between fin performance are made and conclusions are drawn about the applicability of each type of fin to avionics thermal management.

Copyright © 2003 by ASME



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