What Are Thermal Straps?

Thermal straps are flexible conductive links that transfer heat up to a few hundred watts between components in thermal management systems. They are typically made from materials with high thermal conductivity, such as copper or aluminum, and help prevent overheating by dissipating heat away from sensitive areas. Principle uses include applications where components in a system are subject to movement (laser or optical systems), vibration (spacecraft), or thermal expansion.

The different types of thermal straps include:

Braided Thermal Straps – Typically made from braided or woven metal fibers, providing flexibility and ease of installation. Below, a stationary heat source is attached to a floating heat sink via braided thermal straps.

Braided Thermal Straps


Metallic Thermal Straps – Made from copper or aluminum sheets, these straps carry more power than their braided counterpart but are less flexible.

Metal Thermal Straps. Image: sdl.usus.edu


Composite Thermal Straps – Advanced materials like graphite or carbon composites offer excellent heat transfer and flexibility. With thermal conductivity up to 5 times that of copper, materials such as graphite provide improved thermal performance, albeit at a significant cost premium.

FEA Analysis of Graphene Sheets. Image hps-srl.ro

Additional benefits of thermal straps include lighter weight relative to solid metal, the ability to transfer heat in very cramped or irregular spaces, and their dependability at very low operating temperatures such as cryogenic systems.



Posted on

June 25, 2024