Heat Sink for Increasing Through-Thickness Thermal Conductivity of Organic Matrix Composite Structures

Polymer matrix composites have a through-thickness-thermal conductivity whose value is realized in applications such as composite spaceborne electronics enclosures where heat disposition is entirely dependent on thermal conduction to a heat sink. The technique involves interlaminating a high thermal conductivity pitch fiber/epoxy and a low thermal conductivity carbon fabric epoxy within a sandwich of copper foil outer plies. Once the copper is laminated on the surface, it is etched from areas not exposed to the heat. A hole may be drilled transversely through the laminated composite and the walls of the space defining the opening are copper laded. The high thermal conductivity of the copper allows heat transfer from the heat source through the opening to the high thermal conductivity fibers that then transfer the heat to a heat sink.

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