COMING SOON: THERMAL STRAP DESIGN GALLERIES, PRODUCT LINES, AND CATALOGS FROM THE INDUSTRY'S TOP SUPPLIERS
THERMAL STRAP MATERIALS AND CONFIGURATIONS
Copper Rope and Foil Thermal Straps / Thermal Links
Copper Thermal Straps were once welded or brazed, but the preferred assembly method today (used by suppliers like TAI and Space Dynamics Laboratory), is a cold press, referred to as a "swage." By swaging copper ropes and foils to terminal blocks, resistance losses are dramatically reduced, and flexibility is preserved and maximized.
If flexibility on each axis is a paramount requirement, the OFHC copper rope strap is the preferred, and most commonly used solution in aerospace and cryogenic engineering applications. They offer a high degree of flexibility on each axes, and they are also the most durable of the thermal strap configurations (straps from suppliers like TAI have been qualified to mechanical flex testing of 1 Million cycles). While these straps are often the most affordable, there are some limitations to considers:
Mass - copper straps are the heaviest of the available products on the market, sometimes ruling them out in spaceflight applications.
Flexibility - copper foil straps cannot be flexed on the lateral axis, and must be manufactured into large curved and S-shaped configurations as a result. This further increases mass and reduces conductance.
Price - copper foil straps are more expensive than their rope counterparts, given the assembly process.
Carbon Sheet/Foil and Fiber Thermal Straps
Thermal Straps made from graphite and graphene sheets and fibers offer the industry's highest thermal conductivity. While those made from pyrolytic graphite and graphene sheet offer superior thermal performance to bundled graphite fibers, like metallic foil thermal straps, they too lack flexibility on the lateral axis. However, unlike metallic foil straps, carbon-based sheets can tear if flexed on this axis, or pulled taught or improperly handled.