Mercury Systems announces breakthroughs in module and subsystem cooling technologies

Mercury Systems has unveiled a number of new innovations in thermal management for air-cooled, conduction-cooled and VITA 48 subsystem chassis. The announcement comes as more and more heat is generated by increasing levels of performance, and discharging that heat out of advanced computing solutions is becoming more challenging for engineers.

“Our new thermal-management solutions are capable of dissipating tremendous amounts of thermal energy, while still meeting the same or smaller size, weight and power requirements for the overall solution,” said Darryl McKenney, Vice President of Mercury’s Engineering Services team. “By understanding the thermal profile for each specific component that makes up a system, we have created innovations in the mass transfer of thermal energy that work at the individual component, module and subsystem level.”

Mercury’s improved air-cooled integrated XMC thermal solution addresses the need for a standards-based approach to draw heat away from high-powered mezzanine cards, then onto the carrier module and ultimately out of the system in air-cooled environments. By adding “hooks” that connect to a thermal bridge between the card and module, the solution typically reduces mezzanine card temperatures by more than 5 degrees Celsius. This results in a five-times improvement in MTBF (mean time between failures), while remaining compliant with the VITA 48.1 mechanical specification for air cooling.

The new conduction-cooled solution tackles the industry’s need for an effective way to remove heat from mezzanine cards, while staying within the ANSI/VITA 20 requirements for conduction-cooled PMCs. By leveraging flexibility built into the specification, Mercury’s advancement calls for the removal of the optional thermal ribs and the addition of a mezzanine cold plate that attaches to the carrier module. This creates a cooling area that is up to six times the area of the legacy solution. Once implemented, maximum power levels of the mezzanine site that can be cooled are increased from 15 watts per mezzanine site to an impressive 50 watts.

These new Air Flow-By (AFB) cooling techniques for VITA 48.7/48.1 circuit card assemblies are able to reduce module weight by more than 20 percent, reduce the power of a typical system by greater than 5 percent, and improve the MTBF by five times. The AFB covers wrap around existing modules to create a sealed environment for protection against dust and contaminants, Level-2 Maintenance (L2M) and EMI shielding (acts as an electrical Faraday cage).

The specially designed enclosures draw heat from the internal components to the exterior surface, where air is flowed across both sides of the module for maximum cooling efficiency. Designed with today’s C-SWaP (cost, size, weight and power) requirements in mind, AFB modules are offered in 1-inch pitch and attain industry-leading levels of thermal performance, providing over 200 watts per-slot of 6U cooling capacity — even when deployed in rugged environments. Uniquely versatile, AFB systems are capable of providing slots for conduction-cooled, while the AFB modules can be used side by side with air-cooled modules, thus easing the transition from legacy solutions.

All three innovations (air-cooled, conduction-cooled and AFB) are available today for high-powered radar, EO/IR, SIGINT and EW applications on rugged ground-based and airborne platforms.


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