BOSTON, February 23, 2009 – The US Air Force has awarded a development contract to Reactive Innovations, LLC of Westford, MA to develop a compact micro-channel heat exchanger. The development of lightweight and compact thermal systems is needed to support emerging technologies such as high efficient radiators for high power heat rejection at low temperature differentials and high-density microelectronic circuits that require high rates of heat removal. Improved thermal control systems are needed by the Air Force for miniaturized sensors and electronics in support of future spacecraft missions. Reactive Innovations, LLC will demonstrate a manufacturing method to minimize the mass and improve the thermal performance of liquid cooled compact micro channel heat exchangers. Micro channel heat exchangers have been shown to offer exceptional heat transfer rate upwards of 1000 W/cm2 in microelectronic applications. To help reduce the heat exchanger mass, improve the heat transfer effectiveness, and lessen the cost, Reactive Innovations will develop and demonstrate a novel manufacturing process that incorporates carbon nanotubes into these compact micro channel heat exchangers. Air Force applications of the proposed technology may find utility in thermal control systems for MEMs, electronics, and spacecraft heat exchangers.
The broader implications of this micro channel manufacturing approach may be used for developing compact heat exchangers for microelectronics, automotive systems, aerospace systems, and compact chemical reactors. The manufacturing approach is capable of obtaining high surface to volume ratios with minimal pressure drop making it ideal for heat exchangers, reactors, and separation systems. Improved heat transfer effectiveness, lighter weight and volume, and ease of manufacture will broaden the appeal of this micro channel heat exchanger for compact to large heat exchangers used in commercial and industrial applications.