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The main purpose of the independent study was to design and validate a passive solid metal thermal heat switch, which is an alternative approach for a current project in Dr. Weisensee’s lab entitled “Development of Passive and Compact Liquid Metal Heat Switch”. Based on an initial wooden prototype and an analytical tip angle analysis, prototypes were generated using a polymer 3D printer. Multiple thermal actuation tests were conducted for each prototype. The actuation of the final polymer prototype was fully functional – the plug exits the gap without blockage when heated. It was found that a cold plate should be used instead of a hot plate for the thermal testing, and the bimetallic strip should be flipped. After this adjustment, the polymer prototype will be transitioned to a metal prototype for thermal measurements. Over the summer, multiple thermal tests will be conducted to ensure that the metal prototype functions as an effective heat switch.

Document Type

Final Report

Author's School

McKelvey School of Engineering

Author's Department

Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Class Name

Mechanical Engineering and Material Sciences Independent Study

Date of Submission


Available for download on Thursday, May 08, 2025