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The main purpose of the independent study was to design and validate a passive solid metal thermal heat switch. Using the previous prototype, plots that compare the inlet temperature vs. the outlet temperature as well as their respective deviation from room temperature were used to show the heat switch functionality. Both plots showed a visible change in the temperature trend at the switching temperature, demonstrating that the switch switches from on to off as desired. In addition, the thermal testing with an upside-down orientation was conducted to prove the functionality of the heat switch at any orientation. In an upside-down configuration, the heat switch is naturally at off-state due to gravity, and the switch turns on at an inlet temperature of 66°C (as compared to 25°C in its regular orientation). A miniaturized thermal switch prototype was manufactured to increase the compactness and efficiency of the heat switch. A new set of thermal testing was conducted, and a switching ratio of more than 200:1 (ON vs. OFF conductance ratio) was obtained, which is a significant improvement from the previous prototype. The copper block dimension and the experimental setup were also optimized using COMSOL Multiphysics simulation. With new copper blocks and a new experimental setup, more thermal experiments will be conducted to ensure the repeatability of the data.
Mechanical Engineering and Material Sciences Independent Study
Date of Submission
Park, Steve, "Development of a cm-scale Passive Heat Switch" (2023). Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science Independent Study. 221.
Available for download on Friday, May 01, 2026