AIAA Journal of Thermophysics and Heat Transfer, Vol. 12, pp. 256-262, 1998.

Thermal Management of an Avionics Module Using Solid-Liquid Phase Change Materials (PCMs)

Debrata Pal
Motorola Inc.
Arlington Heights, Illinois

Yogendra K., Joshi
University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland


A combined experimental and computational investigation of transient thermal control of an avionics module using phase-change material (PCM) is reported. The configuration examined was a honeycomb core filled with an organic PCM, n-triacontane, heated from the bottom. Experiments were conducted to evaluate the thermal performance of the PCM device by measuring temperatures at various locations as functions of time until the module temperature reached an acceptable maximum limit. An analysis of melting inside a single honeycomb cell, considering effects of natural convection, showed that, for the power levels and the cell geometry considered, the effect of natural convection on melting was negligible. A system level analysis of the PCM-filled device followed. Timewise variations of temperatures at various locations from the model were in good agreement with the experimental data. Times for complete melting, maximum temperature variations within the honeycomb, and evolution of melt shapes are presented as functions of power levels.

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