High Performance Heat Transfer with k-Core® Advanced Solid Conduction

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Technology abstract

k-Core® is a lightweight macro-composite of encapsulated annealed pyrolytic graphite (APG) that boasts thermal conductivity 3-4 times greater than conventional monolithic aluminium heat sinks. The outer material can vary in thickness and can be CTE-matched, acting as a “drop in” replacement for existing aluminium cooling solutions. k-Core® is designed and manufactured in the UK and is ideal for high heat flux and high-power electronics applications.

Technology Description

As power electronics design tends toward greater miniaturisation and higher performance, the challenge of cooling becomes ever greater. k-Core® is an advanced composite consisting of an Annealed Pyrolytic Graphite (APG) core encapsulated within a parent material.

The APG itself has wide operational temperature range (-123 Deg C to 125 Deg C) with thermal conductivity of >1500 W/mK. The parent material can be selected and tailored based on specific requirements, providing users with a “drop-in” replacement for equivalent solid conduction heat sinks.

Finite element analysis and qualification tests demonstrate the superiority of k-Core in comparison with a range of conventional and low CTE heat sink materials, as shown below:

 

Encapsulant Thermal conductivity (W/mk) without APG insert THERMAL CONDUCTIVITY (W/MK) With K-CORE improvement
Aluminium (6061) 173 987 5.7x
Copper (OFHC) 394 1076 2.7x
Kovar  14 924 66.0x
Copper-Moly (15 Cu 85M) 195 996 5.1x

The team behind the k-Core® system are specialists in high-performance thermal management and have significant space heritage; supplying mini-heat pipes, thermal straps, conduction bars, and electronic chassis for a range of space missions including the ESA Solar Orbiter and NASA’s Mars Rover. 

Innovations & Advantages

  • Lightweight
  • Passive
  • Significantly reduced peak semiconductor temperatures
  • Smaller heat sink size
  • Drop-in replacement for equivalent solid conduction
  • Lower mass than traditional aluminium/copper heat sinks
  • Gravity-independent (for 0G to >9G environments)
  • Rugged, resistant to damage
  • Can be CTE-matched to semiconductor materials for direct attachment

Current and Potential Domains of Application

  • Motorsport
  • High-power electronics
  • High heat flux applications