Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Astronautical Engineering


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Carl R. Hartsfield, PhD


The purpose of this research was to determine the effectiveness and feasibility of additively manufactured heat sinks using gallium as a phase change material in the thermal management of satellite electronics. A design was created based on the footprint of an Astronautical Development, LLC Lithium 1 UHF radio and six heat sinks were additively manufactured; two each of stainless steel 316, Inconel 718, and ULTEM 9085. Each heat sink was filled with gallium for testing purposes. Models were created to simulate the behavior of the heat transfer and phase change processes occurring within the heat sink. Additionally, laboratory data was gathered on the actual processes occurring. Testing was carried out in a thermal vacuum chamber with the use of film heaters that were attached to the heat sink to simulate a radio in transmitting mode while a satellite is in contact with a ground station. Finally, temperature profiles of the laboratory data were created to gain insight into the characteristics of the phase change process and its effectiveness in thermal management of satellite electronics.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number