In this work, we explore the thermal properties of gallium as an effective phase change material for thermal management applications. Thermal storage and dissipation of gallium manufactured heat sinks were compared to conventional phase change heat sinks. The comparison revealed a 50-fold (80 K versus 1.5 K) potential reduction in temperature during the phase change process due to the high density, thermal conductivity, and latent heat of fusion. The gallium creates shallow thermal gradients when transiently heated, producing a nearly isothermal process. Computational estimates using lumped sum parameters were able to provide simple modeling to predict the results. Gallium based phase change devices offer a combination of low volume, small temperature drops across the device, simplicity of manufacture and design, and high energy storage applications.
Journal of Aerospace Engineering
Hartsfield, C. R., Shelton, T. E., Palmer, B. O., & O’Hara, R. (2020). All-Metallic Phase Change Thermal Management Systems for Transient Spacecraft Loads. Journal of Aerospace Engineering, 33(4), 04020039. https://doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)AS.1943-5525.0001150