Custom Products

TMT offers a variety of custom thermal/mechanical products. These products have evolved from years of aerospace and industrial thermal management experience and research and development activities. Areas of expertise include industrial processes, thermal systems, cryogenics, spacecraft hardware and systems, electronics cooling, fluid measurement, and two-phase cooling. Personnel at TMT have been involved in space hardware development from early design through testing and launch, so we understand industry needs. In all industries, TMT strives to get involved early in the design phase so that product designs become integrated and multi-functional where ever possible. Contact TMT to see how we can make your thermal concepts a reality.


Flexible Thermal Strap

Flexible Thermal Straps

TMT has developed methods to fabricate reliable, flexible, metallic thermal straps to facilitate the transfer of heat while retaining flexibility between thermal components. Thermal straps constructed of copper (braid or foil) or aluminum foil can be produced to meet customer requirements.

TMT also has a limited set of “standard” flexible thermal straps to provide customers quick access at an affordable cost. Custom units of various thermal conductance, operating temperature, size, and end connections can also be designed, fabricated, and tested for customers.

Applications

Flexible thermal straps are used in a wide variety of applications to provide a passive means of transporting heat from source to thermal sink. Applications for flexible thermal straps include, but are not limited to:

  • Cryogenic Shrouds
  • Infrared instruments
  • Electronic cooling
  • Thermoelectrics
  • Component testing
  • Cryocooler integration
  • Superconductors
  • Cross hinge-cooling
  • Heat sinks
  • Spacecraft

Thermal straps are relatively simple to implement, but require careful thought. In the design of any thermal strap, the engineer must determine which parameters are important to the success of the project. Typical considerations include: operating temperature, thermal conductance, mass, stiffness, contamination, and cost. When mass is a driver, the optimal material choices depend on specific conductivity (k/ρ) and temperature. TMT has a limited number of standard sizes and configurations available to facilitate faster delivery. See our fact sheet for our flexible thermal straps.

TMT engineers have designed and fabricated a variety of thermal straps from very small instrument thermal straps at 0.6 W/K to large ~50 cm long 90 K chamber heat spreaders at 1.5 W/K. With this in mind, let TMT work with you to make your project successful!

The flexible thermal straps are configurable to almost any desired shape and end-block configuration. Please fill out this form and email to TMT at information@tmt-ipe.com to begin work on your design specification.

Gallery




Flexible Thermal Straps can be configured for your application.

Current Standard Configurations

Copper (also available with flexible braid) 3. K/W at 77 K (0.59 lb (0.27 kg))

All dimensions in inches. Custom bolt patterns available.
Copper S-strap Copper L-strap

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Thermal Control Panels

Thermal Control Panel technology was developed as a way to create a passive, near isothermal, and multi-functional spacecraft structure. The basis for the Thermal Control Panel technology is a flat, heat pipe-embedded thermal skin which enables high heat spreading capability in a lightweight structural skin. The technology is very adaptable and can be reconfigured to be used as multi-functional structures, radiators, heat spreaders, and heat sinks. For comparison, the thermal skin provides an effective conductivity to mass ratio that is significantly higher than other standard construction materials. The IR video below illustrates the uniform nature of the panel technology. Exact designs and layouts are customized to each user’s needs. See our fact sheet for our thermal control panels.

Conductivity Graph Thermal Heat Sink


Typical honeycomb panel configuration with integrated interface frame
Thermal Panel

Isothermal Spacecraft Structures

For advanced structures, Thermal Control Panels provide the benefits of distributed heat pipes combined with the strength and stiffness of standard spacecraft panels into one cohesive structural panel. These multi-function panels combine two thermal skins on a honeycomb core surrounded by an interface frame. Developed under SBIR contract to the Air Force, the panels show significant application potential to low temperature difference structures. A built-in fastener grid enhances the ease of integration. The panel technology has been space qualification tested. Read more about our space thermal management in our Deployable Radiators section on the SBIR page.

Contact TMT about Thermal Control Panel technology to see how it can be applied to your thermal design.


Thermal Radiators

Thermal Control Panels are configured for uniform temperature, light weight radiators using a single thermal skin and an interface flange. These thin panels spread heat to be radiated over the entire surface. The technology is also applicable for backing solar arrays to provide a uniform temperature and heat path to the radiating surfaces. See our fact sheet for our deployable thermal radiators.

Uniform Heat Spreading

The technology can also be used to distribute heat from within the bus to external surfaces or to radiators providing more efficient use of bus volume.

Test Video

Typical Specifications Based on Space Qualified Design

  • Operating temperature: -30 to +65 °C
  • Survival temperature -40 to +75 °C
  • Typical Uniformity
    • Structure < 0.38 °C/W*m (length)
    • Radiator < 0.1 °C/W*m (length)
  • Mass:
    • Typical radiator application: ~8 kg/m2
    • Typical s/c structure ~25 kg/m2
  • Power limits:
    • 7 W/cm (panel width)
  • Panel qualification: (all axes, 25 kg attached mass)
    • 12.5 g
    • Random vibration 8.7 grms
  • Typical thickness
    • Radiator: ~0.63 cm
    • Structural panel: ~2.5 cm




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Cryogenic Components and Systems

Many of the TMT engineers have devoted areas of their careers to the design and development of cryogenic systems for spacecraft and ground testing. These projects have included work on the only solid-hydrogen cooled infrared instruments to have ever flown in space. Our engineers have been involved in all aspects of cryogenic thermal management, from cooling of infrared detectors to cryogenic operations at launch site facilities. Let TMT help you with your cryogenic component designs. Please contact TMT to see how we may be able to support your project challenges. Specific experience includes:

Flexible Thermal Straps

Read more above to see how TMT can customize a strap for your cryogenic needs.

Thermal Switches

Thermal switches provide a method to disconnect the conductive thermal path between components. TMT engineers have been involved in the design of several “passive” cryogenic thermal switches. Thermal switches can provide thermal protection for systems that use redundant cryogenic cooling systems. In such a case, if one cooler fails, the switch opens and goes from high thermal conductance to high thermal resistance. The design is often autonomous, requiring no electronics to control the switching mechanism and is actuated by a temperature difference across the switch. As the cold side of the switch becomes sufficiently cooled, the switch closes, allowing heat to be transferred to the cold heat sink (cryocooler). If a cooler fails or is switched off, the cold side of the switch will warm up, causing the switch to open, thus thermally isolating the failed cooler from the operating system. Other switch designs require a normally closed condition. In this case, heat is required drive the differential thermal expansion to open the switch. This type of switch can be used for decontamination cycles for optical systems.

Thermal Isolation

TMT is experienced in a variety of thermal isolation techniques and can help select an appropriate solution for your thermal application. Thermal isolation is a critical factor when supporting components with minimal impact to the overall cryogenic system. Applications for thermal isolators can include, but are not limited to:

Fiber Support Technology

TMT engineers have designed and used many different approaches and materials from polymer spacers and thin wall graphite composite tubes to high performance Fiber Support Technology. Many materials are available to match user’s materials and needs, including metals, composites, and plastics. Fiber Support Technology provides a compact system where high stiffness, conduction isolation, and compact space are important parameters. The figures below show how Fiber Support Technology can be beneficial in certain applications.

Applications

  1. Thermal isolation
  2. Infrared imaging
  3. Military vehicles
  4. Aircraft
  5. Missiles
  6. Medical imaging
  7. Cryogenics
  8. High temperature propulsion
FiST
focalplane
          Focal Plane Assembly Support Approach Comparison

Other Cryogenics

There is a wide variety of challenges with cryogenics that our engineers can support with design, component development, system development, and testing. TMT has a small cryocooler-based test chamber for performing cold tests on small components and a 29 inch ID thermal vacuum test chamber for larger items. TMT can also design and fabricate custom cryogenic storage or test systems. Contact TMT to discuss your particular application.


Small Test Chamber cooled by Cryocooler
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Heat Sinks

Heat sinks are used in a wide variety of applications for cooling electronics or other heat producing components. TMT can develop custom finned heat sinks using optimized materials and fins for a particular application. Engineers have also been able to integrate the thin, flat heat pipe technology from the Thermal Control Panel development for high performance heat spreading in a finned heat exchanger. The enhanced performance is particularly effective when the electronics have highly localized sources.

Phase Change Material (PCM) Heat Sinks/Thermal Energy Storage

Phase change material (PCM) heat sinks provide a method of absorbing heat in a material during transient heat loads and then dissipating that heat over longer periods of time. This allows for much smaller heat rejection devices, such as thermal straps or radiators. Alternatively, one can use the stored energy to stabilize component temperatures. TMT can design and fabricate lightweight, high energy storage or overall mass phase change heat sinks for use in ground and aerospace applications. Various phase change materials are combined in a structure that is also based on the lightweight flat heat pipes developed for the thermal control panels. This combination provides a significant advantage for spreading the heat within the PCM heat sink to reduce temperature differential to the component. PCM heat sinks are used in thermal management of electronics systems with cyclical heat loads.

TMT has developed a small package that can be readily implemented in CubeSat systems to limit temperature extremes in electronics with short operational durations.See our fact sheet for phase change materials.

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TMT can perform a wide variety of analysis and testing on thermal systems as an added service, as well as producing custom components. Contact TMT to discuss applications.