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Composite Panel with Integrated Thermal Control

The United States Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Space Vehicles Directorate seeks industry partners to license and commercialize a Biologically Inspired Multifunctional Composite Panel with Integrated Thermal Control.

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The Technology: 

Technological advancements in materials, sensors and computing have driven demand for higher performance satellites. Satellites need to be much more capable in a much smaller size with a longer life time.

The AFRL has developed a unique composite load bearing panel that integrates thermal control within the panel itself. The multifunctional design was inspired by the circulatory system of biological organisms.

The thermal controlled panel integrates cooling channels into a rib-stiffened structure in such a way as to maintain the stiffness-to-mass ratio of a traditional panel. Different fluids provide different benefits based on need and application.


• Strength: Gridded structure provides support and stiffness in a lightweight system
• Thermal Control: Integrated and distributed thermal control
• Efficient: Integrating two functions provides greater design flexibility in advanced systems

Alternative Uses:
• Advanced designs: UAVs, automotive, fuel cells, aerospace, transportation and manufacturing, alternative energy
• Medical/Health Care: Prosthetics, Assistive devices, Therapeutic devices
• Computing: Integrated thermal control within case and rack structures
• Construction: Thermal control within walls, floors, and ceilings

The Opportunity: 

• Issued U.S. Patents 8,657,984 and 8,656,986 available for licensing
• Potential for collaboration with AFRL inventor