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Integrated Thermal Solutions for Radar / EW Systems
Keywords: Heat pipes, Cold plate, Vapor chambers
The integration of SiC devices in RF amplifier modules is increasing the demand of improved thermal management solutions for radars and electronic warfare systems. SiC devices have the capability to increase the RF output power and operational range of these military systems. , however the limiting factor is thermal management. Thermacore has worked in an integral thermal solution from the chip level to ambient that is able to manage the elevated thermal loads from these new RF module technologies. Three thermal management levels will be discussed in this solution. First a thermal ground plane (TGP) at the chip level, providing about 40% improvement in module performance or reduced die count for equivalent performance. The reduced die count can save up to 30% in the total cost of the RF module since the SiC dies carry most of the module costs. Second an embedded heat pipe aluminum cold plate which is low weight, reduced cost and 4x the thermal conductivity of conventional copper heat spreaders. Third a vacuum brazed aluminum flow-through cold rail with folded fin micro-channels, which increases the heat transfer coefficient by 60x compared to a bare channel flow. This novel cold rail brings the liquid flow much closer to the heat source when compared to current state-of-the-art systems, which significantly reduces the thermal resistance at the rack level. The manufacturing process of these cold rails allows for a modular, scalable architecture, which reduces manufacturing costs and increases the yield of large assemblies by solid-state joining together several of these smaller size modules.
Pablo Hidalgo, Senior Engineer
Lancaster, PA

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