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    Liquid Metal Micro-Heat Pipe System

    SDC Completes Patent Applications for "Liquid Metal Micro-Heat Pipe System"

    Barry Neighbors
    Increased Power and Temperature Effect of Various Materials

    San Diego, CA, August 23, 2011 San Diego Composites, Inc. (SDC) is in the final steps to complete a patent for its Liquid Metal Micro-Heat Pipe (LMMHP) technology. SDC was funded by the Missile Defense Agency through the Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program to develop this technology to address a specific excessive heat problem associated with high power electronics for radar applications. SDC developed two technologies in the program, the LMMHPs for spreading the heat and a two-dimensional vapor chamber for transporting the heat to water cooling rails. SDC teamed with Dr. Daniel Harris at Auburn University for the LMMHPs. The LMMHPs use a two phase liquid metal, such as Mercury, Gallium, Indium, or alloys of Gallium and Indium, as the working fluid. Standard methods of micro-machining are used to etch micro-channels of various cross sections into a wafer. The condensed liquid metal working fluid is drawn back to the heat source using a capillary action. The working fluid draws the heat away from the thermal source and to water cooled rails to reduce the overall temperature. SDC's LMMHP technology provides many benefits:

    • Two phase liquid metals extend the boiling limit providing an advantage over state-of-the-art micro-heat pipes that use other working fluids
    • Input to the LMMHPs is over a very small area for easier system implementation
    • LMMHPs rapidly transfer heat to reduce the heat flux by 7 to 50 times

    The program included extensive testing, which showed that the Mercury filled LMMHPs could extend their performance out to significantly higher heat fluxes compared to water. SDC is interested in licensing this technology to a company with a focus on electronics thermal management. Interested parties should contact Gary Wonacott for further information at or (858) 751-0450.

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