Thermally Conductive Vibration Isolation System for Cryocoolers

Period of Performance: 06/06/1997 - 09/13/1999


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Technology Applications, Inc.
5700 Flatiron Parkway, Suite #5701A
Boulder, CO 80301
Principal Investigator


With the increasing demand for high temperature cryoelectronics and sensitive spaceborne infrared imaging and detection systems, reliable mechancal cryocoolers have become an enabling technology. These cryocoolers share two undesirable characteristics vibration and heat generation. Vibration causes deflections in attached structures, adversely affecting optical alignment and inducing spurious electrical signals. Heat generation increases cryocooler temperature, reducing its efficiency, reliability, and lifetime.In the Phase I study, Technology Applications has demonstrated feasibility of a thermally conductive vibration isolation system for cryocoolers; in Phase II, a space qualifiable unit will be built. This system incorporates three innovative technologies: 1) compact six-axis vibration isolation, 2) flexible, high conductance graphite fiber thermal straps, and 3) vapor grown carbon fiber (VGCF)/aluminum composites. We have identified many related critical uses for these separate technologies and will develop and demonstrate them in conjunction with the Thermally Conductive Vibration System development.In Phase II, system requirements will be updated and preliminary designs and analyses completed. Key components will be tested to reduce risk and optimize the final design. Hardware will be fabricated, and the vibration and thermal sybsystems tested. Upon completion of subsystem testing, an integrated system test will be conducted that closely simulates a spaceborne operational environment.