Problem: An innovative way was needed to reduce weight in a hybrid-cooled ATR chassis. In doing so any improvement needed to be in the form of a drop-in replacement, sustained thermal conductivity and without loss of structural integrity. Any changes had to be in the form of a retrofit and utilize in future designs to provide lighter weight chassis for manned and unmanned aircraft (UAVs).
Conclusion: Solidworks was used to model the chassis resulting in the Recommendation to use a specially designed ATR chassis side plate consisting of a variety of thermally-conductive lighter-weight crystalline carbon fiber materials in combination with an aluminum shell. The improved side plate was designed to exceed all of the environmental requirements and was provided as a light-weight drop-in replacement.
The improved side plate was reduced in weight from 6.7 pounds to less than 4.9 pounds. Two side plates are used in the chassis resulting in a total weight savings of 3.6 pounds. Future changes are being considered to reduce weight in a similar manner and the concept developed by NIS known as Flatware is expected to expand.
The increased thermal management introduced by the new design may also result in the removal of fans that may no longer be needed.