Thermal Testing & Analysis

We have consulted on thermal issues ranging from conduction issues in TECs, thermal radiation modeling, and countless air cooled system issues relating to system performance, vibration, and acoustics noise. We use a wide array of thermocouple instrumentation, thermal imaging, flow measurements, as well as finite element analysis and analytic modeling to measure, design, and debug thermal and related issues. We often work on customer products in our Response Dynamics lab where we characterize the system, engineer solution options, and prototype solutions. We then work with the customer to work the winning solution into their quality control and manufacturing process.

Medical Device Heating, Timelapse of Infrared Photography

Thermal issues most often involve other issues such as: Acoustic NoiseDampingStructural Dynamics, and Vibration Isolation . Cooling issues are often solved using a brute force approach of turning up the air flow. The consequence of this, however, is often unacceptable levels of vibration and acoustic noise. In our experience, these competing thermal, acoustic, and vibration issues come head to head right when the design is taken from the breadboard stage in the lab to the engineering of the commercial product, where the product must perform well while squeezing into an enclosure.

Cooling Fins Behind Fan, Fan Mounted With Isolation Problem

The acoustic noise is radiated from the fan itself through blade pass vortices, from structurally induced vibration (and consequent acoustic radiation), from the air flow path, where the sound level increases exponentially with flow velocity for turbulent flows. We have had success redesigning a wide variety of product cooling systems, within the existing geometrics constraints, to improve or maintain cooling, while improving the acoustics and the vibration characteristics of these product.

Thermal Testing Mockup, Wrestling with Space, Flow, Vibration, Acoustics, and Temperature to Optimize Design 

We tackle the issue as a whole addressing all parts of the puzzle for the source, the structural dynamics, system geometry, and the heat flow path. We have successfully designed and/or debugged many cooling system issues on many levels. We are very successful at tinkering and prototyping solutions and enjoy the process and puzzle of getting the guts of a tool to stay cool, stay quiet, and perform well at the same time, presenting various custom design options to do so.

Thermal Mechanical Model of Non-Orthotropic Materials Using Finite Element Analysis

Thermal expansion issues can involve nanometer level disturbances to the position of an atomic force microscope on the time scale of hundreds of milli-seconds, or can involve centimeter level dimension changes on the steel building structure surrounding a turbine pedestal of a power plant. We have identified, characterized, modeled, and found solutions for these thermal expansion issues and many others between these 7 orders of magnitude of unwanted dimensional change.

Thermal, acoustic and vibration issues can all be inter-related. We have enjoyed the experience of debugging these issues and have the skills, experience, and background to understand the physics involved and the limitations of the instrumentation required to characterize the key elements of the disturbance puzzle (see Diagnostic Testing for more details).

We plan on updating the web site periodically to include examples of our work. Our extensive Client List represents hundreds of projects, some involving days of work, others lasting several months, over the last 30+ years. Our website is put together by our engineers and has been evolving slowly since 2006, as we find the time to work on it. Descriptions of many of our projects can be found in the left hand links under the various topics that describe our test, analysis, and design work. 

Contact Us:
Call Reuben Hale, P.E. at 510-507-1300
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