Heat Pipe Heritage: What Came First? The Chicken or the Egg?

Is anyone sure of the answer? And what does this have to do with heat pipe reliability? In the world of heat pipes, we often have to answer a similar question… do you have heritage?


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Aircraft, satellites and spacecraft require equipment on board work consistently and reliably.  You can’t stop at the repair shop on the way home to get it checked out.  It has to work.  For engineers developing new and better solutions for these vehicles, they have one absolute requirement: Show me that you’ve done it before.  Show me your flight heritage.

So if the answer as to whether you have heritage is no, the conundrum becomes who will give you heritage without you first demonstrating in their environment? No customer seems to want to be the first to adopt the technology for a given application despite heat pipes reliably operating across many platforms for decades. For industries such as space and aircraft there is an added challenge that customers do not want public exposure of technologies designed into a specific application.

Even though ACT has heat pipes on board aircraft, satellites and other harsh environment applications, it’s still a question that we must answer with any new application.   

Our heat pipes have been thoroughly vetted with numerous qualification and acceptance programs. We developed a Heat Pipe Reliability Guide to ease the design engineers concerns of heat pipes operating in any environment.

Most programs in which heat pipes are being considered require high performance, high reliability, passive operation and long life. These are key benefits to a heat pipe; designers can use this document to design, predict performance and understand the operating range of copper/water heat pipes. So whether you believe the chicken came first, or the egg…  you don’t need to worry about heat pipes safely operating within your system- they’ve been thoroughly vetted!

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If you are inexperienced with heat pipes or are trying to prove the reliability of heat pipes in a particular application, download ACT's Heat Pipe Reliability Guide. It includes a step-by-step guide for designing heat pipes into your system, as well as modeling and practical reliability information.