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Thermal Design of an Airborne, Military Computer Chassis With Air-Cooled, Cast Pin Fin Coldwalls

[+] Author Affiliations
Donald C. Price, B. Elliott Short, Jr.

Raytheon Company, McKinney, TX

Paper No. IMECE2003-42209, pp. 631-639; 9 pages
  • ASME 2003 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Electronic and Photonic Packaging, Electrical Systems and Photonic Design, and Nanotechnology
  • Washington, DC, USA, November 15–21, 2003
  • Conference Sponsors: Electronic and Photonic Packaging Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-3714-9 | eISBN: 0-7918-4663-6, 0-7918-4664-4, 0-7918-4665-2
  • Copyright © 2003 by ASME


This paper documents the thermal design process required to provide effective thermal management for an airborne, military computer, consisting of 24 modules (two P/S modules and 22 PWB modules), which are edge-cooled to two cast, pin fin coldwalls. The computer chassis is mounted in an electronics pod mounted underneath the centerline of a fighter aircraft. The pod consists of several electronics bays and a self-contained, air-cycle, environmental control system (ECS). The computer chassis is mounted in the forward bay, and the ECS is mounted in the rear bay of the electronics pod. The ECS is an air-cycle refrigeration system, which operates on captured ram air directed by an inlet/diffuser to an expansion turbine. This turbine produces low-pressure, chilled-air, which is then directed through an air-to-liquid, load heat exchanger to produce chilled-liquid. The chilled liquid is piped through small liquid lines to the forward bay of the pod, where the air-cooled, computer chassis is located. The chilled liquid is converted back to chilled-air in an air-to-liquid heat exchanger. The chilled-air is supplied to the forward bay volume and is drawn through the computer chassis coldwalls by a fan integral to the computer chassis. The temperature of the chilled-air, produced in this manner, becomes a strong function of the altitude and Mach number of the fighter aircraft, because of the effect of these two parameters on the ram air mass flow rate and temperature at the inlet to the expansion turbine. The mass flow of the air used to cool the chassis is also a variable, because the density of the air is a function of the flight altitude and the fan has altitude-dependent, operating characteristics. This fan provides the flow of air through the chassis. Emphasis is placed in the design process on the effect of the operating characteristics of the fan at altitude and the determination of the system performance curve associated with the pin fin coldwalls. This performance curve is controlled by the pressure drop characteristics of the pin fin coldwalls, which are a function of the Fanning f-factor and Colburn j-factor characteristics of the cast pin fin design. Design examples are used to demonstrate the design process.

Copyright © 2003 by ASME



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