ROCKLEDGE, FL – January 26, 2009 – Mainstream Engineering Corporation, a leading research and development company specializing in advanced thermal control and energy conversion, has been awarded a contract from the U.S. Air Force to demonstrate a low-power, compact, aircraft thermal management system.
Avionics electronics operating in high-temperature ambient conditions demonstrate a significant decrease in reliability and life. The standard rule-of-thumb is that, for every 10°C (18°F) increase in operating temperature, the life of an electronic device is reduced by half. As aircraft electronics become increasingly complex and power dense, the temperature in electronics storage compartments becomes greater. These high temperatures result in electronic component overheating and mission aborts.
After considering all potential cooling techniques and performing preliminary fluid dynamics modeling, Mainstream identified the ideal system to provide cooling inside the electronics compartment. Mainstream’s Avionics Temperature Management System (ATMS) takes up about a half cubic foot (the size of a large shoebox) and can be located on the shelving near the airplane electronics. It does not require any modification to the plane and is very reliable.
The unit can operate in any orientation and can withstand 7g loading. It weighs less than 30 pounds, provides 225W of cooling for more than 3 hours, and has a maximum 5W power draw. The ATMS requires no batteries or maintenance. Depending on mission objectives, airbase location, type of plane, and onboard electronics, an additional ATMS could be stowed on board to provide twice the cooling.