Thermal Management Patent:

We have just received notice that our Heat Management System UK patent application has been approved, and is due to grant in April 2024 – please visit the UK’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) for further details.

This patent is for a heat management system that would protect vehicles – including ships and high-speed aircraft – from heat damage. Our GC Heat Management System has an engineered, potentially self-powered nanomaterials design that includes a highly efficient heat sink and a thermal transfer fluid.

Thermal energy (e.g. heat) damage is a common problem in many different applications, from circuit electronics in datacentres to aerospace environments but many existing heat management systems struggle to achieve efficient heat dissipation due to inadequate thermal conductivities of materials used.  Additionally, the most efficient thermal energy management systems are often bulky and heavy, limiting their use in high-tech industries such as aerospace. Therefore, there is a need for an improved thermal energy management system which exhibits highly efficient thermal energy transfer (e.g. heat dissipation).

Our patent consists of a protective device comprising of a) an outer protective cover, with a thermal energy conduction element for transferring thermal energy through at least part of the outer protective cover and b) an inner assembly located adjacent to the outer protective cover, comprising of a thermal energy transfer device adapted to transfer thermal energy to and/or from the thermal energy conduction element. The thermal conduction element comprises a graphite-like or pyrolytic graphite-like material and the thermal energy transfer device comprises a thermal energy transfer fluid.

Graphite-like or pyrolytic graphite-like materials are particularly effective at transferring heat and so form particularly effective heat transfer materials – and can be achieved in a single direction due to the anisotropic properties of these materials.  This can be particularly effective when combined with a secondary cooling mechanism, such as the thermal energy transfer device.

In particular, thermal energy can be quickly and efficiently transferred between an external environment and the thermal energy transfer device via the thermal conduction element. These efficient heat transfer of these particular materials and the transfer in one particular direction allows for minimal losses to other parts of the device (and a body which is it protecting) thereby reducing damage to those parts and improving efficiency of the heat transfer. Moreover, these materials also demonstrate excellent stability, strength, wear resistance, fatigue resistance.

This enables use in the outer protective layer as they are less prone to damage under harsh conditions, such as those experienced by aerospace vehicles. Combined with a fluid (e.g. liquid) transfer device, this provides a very efficient way of transferring heat to or away from an area (e.g. the surface or body of the outer protective cover). The graphite-like or pyrolytic graphite-like materials provide very effective thermal transfer over the distance of a part of the outer protective cover, which combines with the fluid transfer device to further transfer the thermal energy. This can be carried out e.g. over greater distances than would be possible (cost-wise and practically wise) with a graphite-like or pyrolytic graphite-like material.

We are at an early TRL (Technology Readiness Level) stage – but we do intend to explore further development over the course of this year and having a patented technology will help tremendously in being able to commercialise this successfully.  This aligns with our overall strategy of ‘Innovation in Advanced Materials Engineering’ – to support manufacturers, product owners and brands who understand that the drive to realise big wins through a process of continual improvement keeps them at the forefront of their industries – taking promising ideas all the way to commercial reality.