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Fibers 2018, 6(4), 92; https://doi.org/10.3390/fib6040092

Highly Conductive Carbon Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Composite Electronic Box: Out-Of-Autoclave Manufacturing for Space Applications

1
INEGI—Institute of Science and Innovation in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, 4200-465 Porto, Portugal
2
HPS—High Performance Space Structure Systems GmbH, 81379 München, Germany
3
ESA—European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC), 2201 AZ Noordwijk, The Netherlands
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 29 October 2018 / Revised: 16 November 2018 / Accepted: 19 November 2018 / Published: 30 November 2018
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Abstract

One of the main advantages of carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) electronic housings, when compared with traditionally used aluminum ones, is the potential for mass savings. In recent years, the power consumption of electronics has been growing, resulting in the need for higher thermal dissipation of electronic housings, requiring the use of highly thermally conductive materials. In this work, the manufacturing of a highly conductive CFRP electronic housing is reported. With a view to reducing total energy costs on manufacturing, an out-of-the autoclave manufacturing process was followed. Due to the inherent low thermal conductivity of typical raw materials for composite materials, strategies were evaluated to increase its value by changing the components used. The use of pitch-based carbon fibers was found to be a very promising solution. In addition, structural, thermal and manufacturing simulations were produced in the design phase. Improved performance was demonstrated from materials manufacturing to final breadboard testing. The results indicate potential gains of around 23% in mass reduction when compared to conventional aluminum electronic boxes. Moreover, the proposed design and the manufactured breadboard showed good compliance with mechanical and electrical requirements for spacecraft structures. The thermal balance results showed a performance slightly below to what would be expected from the detailed design. View Full-Text
Keywords: electronic box; carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP); space; thermal conductivity electronic box; carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP); space; thermal conductivity
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Martins, M.; Gomes, R.; Pina, L.; Pereira, C.; Reichmann, O.; Teti, D.; Correia, N.; Rocha, N. Highly Conductive Carbon Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Composite Electronic Box: Out-Of-Autoclave Manufacturing for Space Applications. Fibers 2018, 6, 92.

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