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Accelerating mission-critical delivery

Courtesy of Byrd Technology Group, LLC

When developing mission-critical equipment, military contractors demand quick reliable answers to thermal problems. To deliver these answers, thermal consulting firm, Byrd Technology Group, LLC relies on Coolit analysis.

Byrd worked with power supply manufacturer, Granite Power Technologies to develop a vehicle-based power supply headed for Iraq. The unit is mounted in a sealed cast aluminum housing along with classified electronics that the military would identify only by its size and location in the housing and the power output. To protect against sand and other elements, the housing is sealed and cooled by natural convection while operating in a 60C environment.

The power supply is constructed with encapsulated Vicor modules, 2 EMI filter modules feeding 2 DC-DC Converter modules, with integral heat plates and two PC boards. An aluminum block is sandwiched vertically between the boards and bolted to them, while the block base is bolted to the cast housing to complete the path from boards to ambient.

To build the simulation, Byrd modeled the classified electronics as a block of equivalent size, shape and power dissipation, but modeled the power supply in detail. Coolit analysis predicted that the supply was within its thermal design limits. However, Granite wanted to quickly assess the accuracy of the CFD model without waiting for testing under actual conditions.

Byrd suggested benchmarking the model in the lab and edited the Coolit model to reflect the lab conditions and reran the analysis. The results impressed Granite; prediction and actuals came within 1C of the measured temp. of 70C on one of the module baseplates. Interestingly, the analysis identified that the lead contractor's classified electronics were in thermal trouble and the contractor was notified.

Coolit model of the power supply and temperature as a function of time at several monitor probe locations.

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