What are Thermal Straps?

1 Answer
Can you answer this question?
Oct 3, 2022

Thermal straps or thermal links are heat transfer devices that help dissipate the heat from the source of the application to a heat sink which helps to transfer the heat to a fluid medium like air or a liquid coolant. Thermal straps are made up of conductive materials such as copper cables, aluminum foil & graphite sheets.

Apart from transferring heat, thermal straps are also used to reduce erratic movements that are produced by vibration, shock, mechanical function, and thermal expansion or contraction which occur as a result of events such as a rocket launch.

Thermal straps are highly essential in providing conductive heat transfer, flexibility, and vibration attenuation and can be used to cool anything from batteries to cryocoolers as well as rocket & missile components.

Types of Thermal Straps

Copper Cabled Thermal Straps

Copper-cabled thermal straps are made with copper cablings and fittings. They are primarily used for cryogenic applications for space stations and other space applications.

They provide superior durability over other metallic & carbon-based strap types and are the most affordable type of thermal straps.

Graphite Fiber Thermal

Graphite Fiber Thermal straps are made from high conductivity graphite fibers that are woven together to increase their tensile strength and are connected by aluminum end fittings. They are highly durable and provide extreme vibration damping. However, they are significantly more expensive than the copper cabled thermal straps.

Pyrolytic Graphite Film (PGF)

Pyrolytic Graphite Film (PGF) is made from pyrolytic graphite sheets which are lightweight and highly flexible. PGF offers the highest thermal performance of any other strap product. Though they are more fragile compared to the other copper variants they offer a unique combination of flexibility, low mass, and thermal performance.

There are certain limitations in using the thermal straps in certain space applications and must be used judicially while considering the following points:

  • Limitations in weight: Thermal straps that are used must be lightweight and compact, as the mass of any object is detrimental in deciding the success of a space mission. 
  • Operational environments: Thermal straps to be used in space will be subjected to harsh environments. Hence, the type of strap that will be used must be decided to serve the application depending on the space mission.
  • Vibration transmission limits: Thermal straps have high vibration resistance & can be used to dampen the effect of vibration as well. But, during space launch, the vibrations that are subjected to the straps are too high and hence might cause the thermal strap to degrade and not perform well.

Click here to learn more about Thermal Straps featured on SatNow.

Space Missions - A list of all Space Missions

esa

Name Date
Altius 01 May, 2025
Arctic Weather Satellite (AWS) 01 Mar, 2024
Eutelsat Quantum 30 Jul, 2021
Sentinel 6 21 Nov, 2020
Cheops 18 Dec, 2019
EDRS 06 Aug, 2019
BepiColombo 20 Oct, 2018
Aeolus 22 Aug, 2018
Sentinel 3B 25 Apr, 2018
Sentinel 5 13 Oct, 2017

isro

Name Date
INSAT-3DS 17 Feb, 2024
XPoSat 01 Jan, 2024
Aditya-L1 02 Sep, 2023
DS-SAR 30 Jul, 2023
Chandrayaan-3 14 Jul, 2023
NVS-01 29 May, 2023
TeLEOS-2 22 Apr, 2023
OneWeb India-2 26 Mar, 2023
EOS-07 10 Feb, 2023
EOS-06 26 Nov, 2022

jaxa

Name Date
XRISM 07 Sep, 2023
SLIM 07 Sep, 2023
ALOS-3 07 Mar, 2023
ISTD-3 07 Oct, 2022
HTV9 21 May, 2020
HTV8 25 Sep, 2019
HTV7 23 Sep, 2018
HTV6 09 Dec, 2016
HTV5 19 Aug, 2015
HTV4 04 Aug, 2013

nasa

Name Date
NEO Surveyor 01 Jun, 2028
Libera 01 Dec, 2027
Europa Clipper 10 Oct, 2024
SpaceX CRS-29 09 Nov, 2023
Psyche 13 Oct, 2023
DSOC 13 Oct, 2023
Psyche Asteroid 05 Oct, 2023
Expedition 70 27 Sep, 2023
SpaceX Crew-7 25 Aug, 2023
STARLING 18 Jul, 2023