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Coolit validates the thermal design characteristics of the In-Flight Entertainment Control Panel.

Courtesy of Miltope Corp.

Miltope is using Coolit to validate the thermal design characteristics of the In-Flight Entertainment Control Panel. The results have been used to more accurately model new designs to meet both thermal and pressure drop requirements.

The control panel was designed to not only efficiently cool internal components but to keep the enclosure surfaces at or below "touch temperature requirements". Because the aluminum enclosure was used as a heat sink to cool many components, the surface temperatures were above the requirements. The final design incorporated two small internal fans to pull ambient air from one side of the enclosure and exhaust out the opposite side.

Coolit was used to model the control panel, both with and without fans. The initial model, without fans, showed that the enclosure surfaces were too hot and would require active cooling. The model was then changed with the addition of fans. The fans were modeled with pressure drop vs. CFM data obtained from the manufacturer. Lab data was then used to properly model intake and exhaust vent flow characteristics (i.e. pressure drops). Once the proper vent parameters were used, Coolit found the amount of CFM of air moved by the fans and solved for temperatures. The results matched very well with the actual lab measurements.

Coolit prediction (deg. C) Measured (deg. C)
Exhaust vent air temperature 36.0 38.1
CPU temperature 48.7 50.2
Back surface temperature 38.7 39.0

Many enclosures on aircraft are cooled by a central plenum, which is common to other equipment. This requires the enclosures to meet temperature requirements at a specified pressure drop and CFM of cooling air. The information learned from modeling the Control Panel has been valuable in designing new enclosures. Proper vent sizing and arrangement, and fan sizing can be more easily optimized using Coolit.


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