Available Technology

Conducting the Heat

Johnson Space Center granted ESLI a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract to develop thermal interface materials that are lightweight, compliant, and demonstrate high thermal conductance even for non-flat surfaces. ESLI created Vel-Therm,R a soft, carbon fiber velvet consisting of numerous high thermal conductivity carbon fibers anchored in a thin layer of adhesive. NASA applied Vel-Therm to the International Space Station. It has applications in the aerospace and electronics industries, benefiting applications with large or uneven gaps or sliding interfaces. Each fiber provides a thermal path from the electronic component to the thermal surface. In addition to having high conductivity, the material makes intimate contact with interfacing surfaces. Each fiber bends independently, allowing the fibers to come into contact with both surfaces, even when the surfaces are not parallel, flat, or smooth. A minimal amount of pressure is required for intimate contact, precluding the need for heavy bolts or clamping mechanisms, and eliminating the necessity of flat, smooth mating surfaces. Vel-ThermR is a registered trademark of Energy Science Laboratories, Inc.
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