Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
ENCAPSULATED PHASE CHANGE MATERIAL HEAT SINK AND METHOD
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2015/152988
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
According to an embodiment of the disclosure, an encapsulated phase change material (PCM) heat sink (100) is provided. The encapsulated PCM heat sink includes a lower shell (102), an upper shell (104), an encapsulated phase change material (112), and an internal matrix (110). The internal matrix includes a space (204) that is configured to receive the encapsulated phase change material. Thermal energy is transferrable between the encapsulated phase change material and at least one of the lower shell and the upper shell. For a particular embodiment, the upper shell is coupled to the lower shell at room temperature and room pressure.

Inventors:
WOOD, Adam, C. (12202 N. Sterling Ave, Oro Valley, Arizona, 85755-1612, US)
Application Number:
US2015/014045
Publication Date:
October 08, 2015
Filing Date:
February 02, 2015
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
RAYTHEON COMPANY (870 Winter Street, Waltham, Massachusetts, 02451-1449, US)
International Classes:
F28F3/02; F28D20/00; F28D20/02; F28D21/00; H01L23/367; H01L23/373; H01L23/427; H05K7/20
Domestic Patent References:
WO2008044256A12008-04-17
WO2011046940A12011-04-21
Foreign References:
US4259401A1981-03-31
GB2474578A2011-04-20
US20120240919A12012-09-27
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DOYLE, David, M. et al. (Munck Wilson Mandala, LLP12770 Coit Road,600 Banner Place Towe, Dallas Texas, 75251, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:

1. An encapsulated phase change material (PCM) heat sink, comprising:

a lower shell;

an upper shell;

an encapsulated phase change material; and

an internal matrix comprising a space, wherein the space is configured to receive the encapsulated phase change material and wherein thermal energy is transferrable between the encapsulated phase change material and at least one of the lower shell and the upper shell. 2. The encapsulated PCM heat sink of Claim 1, wherein the upper shell is coupled to the lower shell at room temperature and room pressure.

3. The encapsulated PCM heat sink of Claim 1, wherein the lower shell comprises a raised edge configured to form a cavity, and wherein the cavity is configured to receive the internal matrix and the encapsulated phase change material.

4. The encapsulated PCM heat sink of Claim 1, wherein the internal matrix comprises a plurality of pins integral to the lower shell. 5. The encapsulated PCM heat sink of Claim 1, wherein the internal matrix comprises a plurality of pins integral to the upper shell.

6. The encapsulated PCM heat sink of Claim 1, wherein the internal matrix comprises a lower internal matrix and an upper internal matrix, wherein the lower internal matrix comprises a plurality of pins integral to the lower shell, and wherein the upper internal matrix comprises a plurality of pins integral to the upper shell.

7. The encapsulated PCM heat sink of Claim 1, wherein the internal matrix comprises a thermally-conductive foam.

8. An encapsulated phase change material (PCM) heat sink, comprising:

an encapsulated wax powder;

an internal matrix comprising a space, wherein the space is configured to receive the encapsulated wax powder;

a lower shell comprising a raised edge configured to form a cavity, wherein the cavity is configured to receive the internal matrix and the encapsulated wax powder; and

an upper shell coupled to the raised edge of the lower shell.

9. The encapsulated PCM heat sink of Claim 8, wherein the upper shell is coupled to the raised edge of the lower shell at room temperature and room pressure.

10. The encapsulated PCM heat sink of Claim 8, wherein the internal matrix comprises a plurality of pins integral to the lower shell. 1 1. The encapsulated PCM heat sink of Claim 8, wherein the internal matrix comprises a plurality of pins integral to the upper shell.

12. The encapsulated PCM heat sink of Claim 8, wherein the internal matrix comprises a lower internal matrix and an upper internal matrix, wherein the lower internal matrix comprises a plurality of pins integral to the lower shell, and wherein the upper internal matrix comprises a plurality of pins integral to the upper shell.

13. The encapsulated PCM heat sink of Claim 8, wherein the internal matrix comprises a thermally-conductive foam.

14. A method for forming an encapsulated PCM heat sink, comprising:

inserting an encapsulated phase change material into a lower shell;

covering the encapsulated phase change material with an upper shell, wherein the encapsulated phase change material is received within a space of an internal matrix; and

coupling the upper shell to the lower shell at room temperature and room pressure.

15. The method of Claim 14, further comprising forming the internal matrix in the lower shell, wherein inserting the encapsulated phase change material into the lower shell comprises inserting the encapsulated phase change material into the space of the internal matrix.

16. The method of Claim 15, wherein the internal matrix comprises a plurality of pins integral to the lower shell.

17. The method of Claim 14, further comprising forming the internal matrix in the upper shell. 18. The method of Claim 17, wherein the internal matrix comprises a plurality of pins integral to the upper shell.

19. The method of Claim 14, wherein the internal matrix comprises a lower internal matrix and an upper internal matrix, and wherein the space of the internal matrix comprises a space of the lower internal matrix and a space of the upper internal matrix, the method further comprising:

forming the lower internal matrix in the lower shell, wherein the lower internal matrix comprises a plurality of pins integral to the lower shell; and

forming the upper internal matrix in the upper shell, wherein the upper internal matrix comprises a plurality of pins integral to the upper shell, and wherein inserting the encapsulated phase change material into the lower shell comprises inserting the encapsulated phase change material into the space of the lower internal matrix.

20. The method of Claim 14, further comprising providing the internal matrix in the lower shell, wherein the internal matrix comprises a thermally-conductive foam, and wherein inserting the encapsulated phase change material into the lower shell comprises inserting the encapsulated phase change material into the space of the thermally-conductive foam.

Description:
ENCAPSULATED PHASE CHANGE MATERIAL HEAT SINK AND METHOD

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] The present disclosure is directed, in general, to thermal technology and, more specifically, to an encapsulated phase change material heat sink and method.

BACKGROUND OF THE DISCLOSURE

[0002] Phase change material heat sinks are capable of increasing thermal capacitance per volume/mass as compared to typical metallic heat sinks. However, due to the possible leakage of the phase change material, containing the phase change material within a heat sink generally requires sealing that is most effectively accomplished by creating a pressure vessel to contain the phase change material, which is generally expensive and time consuming.

SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE

[0003] This disclosure provides an encapsulated phase change material (PCM) heat sink and method.

[0004] In one embodiment, an encapsulated PCM heat sink is provided that includes a lower shell, an upper shell, an encapsulated phase change material, and an internal matrix. The internal matrix includes a space configured to receive the encapsulated phase change material. Thermal energy is transferrable between the encapsulated phase change material and at least one of the lower shell and the upper shell. For a particular embodiment, the upper shell is coupled to the lower shell at room temperature and room pressure.

[0005] In another embodiment, an encapsulated PCM heat sink is provided that includes an encapsulated wax powder, an internal matrix, a lower shell, and an upper shell. The internal matrix includes a space configured to receive the encapsulated wax powder. The lower shell includes a raised edge that is configured to form a cavity. The cavity is configured to receive the internal matrix and the encapsulated wax powder. The upper shell is coupled to the raised edge of the lower shell. For a particular embodiment, the upper shell is coupled to the raised edge of the lower shell at room temperature and room pressure.

[0006] In yet another embodiment, a method for forming an encapsulated PCM heat sink is provided. The method includes inserting an encapsulated phase change material into a lower shell. The encapsulated phase change material is covered with an upper shell and is received within a space of an internal matrix. The upper shell is coupled to the lower shell at room temperature and room pressure.

[0007] Other technical features may be readily apparent to one skilled in the art from the following figures, descriptions, and claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0008] For a more complete understanding of the present disclosure, reference is now made to the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

[0009] FIGURE 1 illustrates an encapsulated phase change material (PCM) heat sink in accordance with the present disclosure;

[0010] FIGURES 2A-C illustrate examples of the internal matrix of FIGURE 1 in accordance with the present disclosure;

[001 1] FIGURES 3A-D illustrate a first example of the formation of the PCM heat sink of FIGURE 1 in accordance with the present disclosure;

[0012] FIGURES 4A-D illustrate a second example of the formation of the PCM heat sink of FIGURE 1 in accordance with the present disclosure;

[0013] FIGURES 5A-D illustrate a third example of the formation of the PCM heat sink of FIGURE 1 in accordance with the present disclosure;

[0014] FIGURES 6A-E illustrate a fourth example of the formation of the PCM heat sink of FIGURE 1 in accordance with the present disclosure; and

[0015] FIGURE 7 is a flowchart illustrating a method for forming the PCM heat sink of FIGURE 1 in accordance with the present disclosure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0016] FIGURES 1 through 7, discussed below, and the various embodiments used to describe the principles of the present disclosure in this patent document are by way of illustration only and should not be construed in any way to limit the scope of the disclosure. Those skilled in the art will understand that the principles of the present disclosure may be implemented using any number of techniques, whether currently known or not. Additionally, the drawings are not necessarily drawn to scale.

[0017] As described above, containing a phase change material (PCM) within a heat sink generally requires sealing that is most effectively accomplished by creating a pressure vessel to contain the PCM. For example, paraffin wax is sealed in an aluminum container to form one type of PCM heat sink that typically uses vacuum brazing and high pressure seal plugs to prevent the paraffin wax from escaping the heat sink when it expands as a liquid. Vacuum brazing is performed at a limited number of facilities and typically has a multi- month lead time. In addition, filling these heat sinks with the paraffin wax and inserting seal plugs is usually done at elevated temperatures, such as 90 degrees Celsius or higher, which further increases the difficulty of assembly.

[0018] FIGURE 1 illustrates a cross-sectional view of an encapsulated PCM heat sink 100 in accordance with the present disclosure. The embodiment of the encapsulated PCM heat sink 100 shown in FIGURE 1 is for illustration only. Other embodiments of the encapsulated PCM heat sink 100 could be used without departing from the scope of this disclosure.

[0019] The heat sink 100 comprises a lower shell 102 and an upper shell 104. The lower shell 102 comprises a raised edge 106, which forms a cavity 108 that is configured to accommodate an internal matrix 1 10 and an encapsulated phase change material 1 12. The lower shell 102 and the upper shell 104 may be coupled together at an interface 1 14 between the upper shell 104 and the raised edge 106 of the lower shell 102 to contain the internal matrix 1 10 and the encapsulated phase change material 1 12 within the heat sink 100.

[0020] The lower shell 102 may comprise aluminum or any other suitable thermally- conductive material. The upper shell 104 may also comprise aluminum or any other suitable thermally-conductive material. Although illustrated as rectangular, it will be understood that the heat sink 100 may comprise any suitable shape, such as circular, oval, triangular, configured to be adjacent a printed circuit board or the like. For example, for some embodiments, the heat sink 100 may be circular. For these embodiments, the lower shell 102 and the upper shell 104 may be substantially circular in shape. In addition, as the shape of the cavity 108 is determined by the raised edge 106, the shape of the internal matrix 1 10 may be independent of the shape of the shells 102 and 104.

[0021] The internal matrix 1 10 comprises a thermally-conductive material that may be coupled to the lower shell 102 and/or the upper shell 104. In addition, the internal matrix 1 10 comprises a space that is configured to accommodate the encapsulated phase change material 1 12. For a particular example, the internal matrix 1 10 may comprise pins, which may be coupled to or formed with the lower shell 102 and/or the upper shell 104 or to a thermally-conductive component (not shown in FIGURE 1) coupled between the lower and upper shells 102 and 104. For another example, the internal matrix 1 10 may comprise a thermally-conductive foam, such as aluminum foam. Thus, the internal matrix 1 10 may comprise any suitable form, such as straight, slanted, spiral, zigzag, foam or the like. The thermally-conductive material of the internal matrix 1 10 is configured to conduct thermal energy into the encapsulated phase change material 1 12 within the space of the internal matrix 1 10.

[0022] The encapsulated phase change material 1 12, which is represented by dots in FIGURE 1, comprises a coating of a non-phase change material which encapsulates a phase change material. For example, the encapsulated phase change material 1 12 may comprise a plurality of relatively small glass spheres, each of which encapsulates a relatively small amount of wax powder that absorbs thermal energy when it changes from a solid to liquid state. Thus, the encapsulated phase change material 1 12 is configured to store and release heat or thermal energy via the phase changes of the phase change material. However, because the phase change material is encapsulated in a non-phase change material, the encapsulated phase change material 112 does not expand or contract with the phase changes. Accordingly, the encapsulated phase change material 112 does not exert pressure on the lower shell 102 or upper shell 104 when the phase change material expands (e.g., for the wax powder embodiment, when the wax powder that is encapsulated melts).

[0023] As a result, the need for high-pressure sealing and high-temperature assembly is eliminated, and the lower shell 102 and the upper shell 104 may be coupled together at room temperature and pressure (i.e., without artificially increasing the temperature or pressure of the environment in which the heat sink 100 is being formed) using any suitable sealing technique, such as O-rings, tape or the like. For some embodiments, for example in which the heat sink 100 is circular, the lower shell 102 and the upper shell 104 may comprise complementary threads allowing the shells 102 and 104 to be screwed together. Because neither a high pressure nor a high temperature environment is needed, the process to form the heat sink 100 is significantly less expensive and faster.

[0024] In addition, for some embodiments, the internal matrix 110 and encapsulated phase change material 1 12 together have a lower mass than the material of the lower shell 102 and the upper shell 104. Thus, by using the internal matrix 1 10 and encapsulated phase change material 112, the mass of the heat sink 100 is reduced as compared to a solid heat sink having the same dimensions but made of the material used for the lower shell 102 and the upper shell 104. As a result, for applications in which mass reduction is desirable, the heat sink 100 allows a decrease in mass while providing similar or better thermal performance.

[0025] Although FIGURE 1 illustrates one example of an encapsulated PCM heat sink 100, various changes may be made to the embodiment shown in FIGURE 1. For example, the makeup and arrangement of the encapsulated PCM heat sink 100 are for illustration only. Components could be added, omitted, combined, subdivided, or placed in any other suitable configuration according to particular needs. For some embodiments, the heat sink 100 may be formed on a mount (not shown in FIGURE 1) that allows the heat sink 100 to be more easily incorporated into a particular application.

[0026] FIGURES 2A-C illustrate examples of the internal matrix 1 10 in accordance with the present disclosure. The examples of the internal matrix 110 shown in FIGURES 2A- C are for illustration only. Other embodiments of the internal matrix 1 10 could be used without departing from the scope of this disclosure. For these examples, the internal matrix 1 10 comprises a thermally-conductive material 202, represented by dark areas, and a space 204, represented by white areas. In addition, the internal matrix 110 is illustrated in a top view.

[0027] For the embodiment shown in FIGURE 2A, the thermally-conductive material

202 is configured as a plurality of pins. The space 204 comprises a contiguous open area formed by the pins. Although illustrated as square, it will be understood that the pins may alternatively be circular or any other suitable shape. For the embodiment shown in FIGURE 2B, the thermally-conductive material 202 is configured as a plurality of plates. The space 204 comprises a contiguous open area formed between the plates. Although illustrated as straight, it will be understood that the plates may alternatively be slanted, zigzag, or any other suitable shape. For the embodiment shown in FIGURE 2C, the thermally-conductive material 202 is configured as a grid. The space 204 comprises a non-contiguous open area formed by the grid. Although illustrated as a square grid, it will be understood that the grid may alternatively be formed in any other suitable shape.

[0028] FIGURES 3-6, described below, illustrate the formation of specific examples of the encapsulated PCM heat sink 100. However, it will be understood that any suitable configuration of the described components may be implemented without departing from the scope of this disclosure.

[0029] FIGURES 3A-D illustrate the formation of the encapsulated PCM heat sink

100 in accordance with one embodiment of the present disclosure. For this particular example, as shown in FIGURE 3 A, the lower shell 102 includes an integral internal matrix 1 10 that comprises pins. The lower shell 102 may be formed together with the internal matrix 1 10, or the internal matrix 1 10 may be coupled to the lower shell 102 in the cavity 108 after the lower shell 102 is formed.

[0030] The pins of the internal matrix 1 10 are configured to conduct heat or thermal energy between the lower shell 102 and the encapsulated phase change material 1 12, which may be added over the internal matrix 1 10 so as to substantially fill in the space between the pins, as shown in FIGURE 3B. The size and spacing of the pins may be selected based on any suitable criteria, such as the thermal requirements of the application in which the encapsulated PCM heat sink 100 is to be implemented or the like. In addition, although illustrated as straight, the pins may have any suitable configuration, such as spiral, zigzag or the like.

[0031] As shown in FIGURES 3C-D, the upper shell 104 may then be added over the lower shell 102, the internal matrix 1 10 and the encapsulated phase change material 1 12, and the shells 102 and 104 may be sealed together at the interface 1 14 in any suitable manner, as described above in connection with FIGURE 1 , to form the encapsulated PCM heat sink 100. The pins of the internal matrix 1 10 may also be configured to conduct heat or thermal energy between the upper shell 104 and the encapsulated phase change material 1 12 once the upper shell 104 is sealed to the lower shell 102.

[0032] FIGURES 4A-D illustrate the formation of the encapsulated PCM heat sink 100 in accordance with one embodiment of the present disclosure. For this particular example, as shown in FIGURE 4A, the lower shell 102 with the cavity 108 formed by the raised edge 106 is provided. The encapsulated phase change material 1 12 is then added to the cavity 108, as shown in FIGURE 4B. [0033] As shown in FIGURE 4C, the upper shell 104 includes an integral internal matrix 1 10 that comprises pins. The upper shell 104 may be formed together with the internal matrix 1 10, or the internal matrix 1 10 may be coupled to the upper shell 104 after the upper shell 104 is formed. The pins of the internal matrix 1 10 are configured to conduct heat or thermal energy between the upper shell 104 and the encapsulated phase change material 1 12. The size and spacing of the pins may be selected based on any suitable criteria, such as the thermal requirements of the application in which the encapsulated PCM heat sink 100 is to be implemented or the like. In addition, although illustrated as straight, the pins may have any suitable configuration, such as spiral, zigzag or the like.

[0034] As shown in FIGURE 4D, the upper shell 104 with the internal matrix 1 10 may be added over the lower shell 102 and the encapsulated phase change material 1 12 such that the encapsulated phase change material 1 12 substantially fills the space between the pins of the internal matrix 110. The shells 102 and 104 may then be sealed together at the interface 1 14 in any suitable manner, as described above in connection with FIGURE 1, to form the encapsulated PCM heat sink 100. The pins of the internal matrix 110 may also be configured to conduct heat or thermal energy between the lower shell 102 and the encapsulated phase change material 1 12 once the upper shell 104 is sealed to the lower shell 102.

[0035] FIGURES 5A-D illustrate the formation of the encapsulated PCM heat sink 100 in accordance with one embodiment of the present disclosure. For this particular example, the internal matrix 1 10 comprises a lower internal matrix l lOj and an upper internal matrix 1 10 2 . As shown in FIGURE 5 A, the lower shell 102 includes an integral, lower internal matrix U Oi that comprises pins. The lower shell 102 may be formed together with the lower internal matrix 1 10], or the lower internal matrix 1 10i may be coupled to the lower shell 102 in the cavity 108 after the lower shell 102 is formed.

[0036] The pins of the lower internal matrix 1 10] are configured to conduct heat or thermal energy between the lower shell 102 and the encapsulated phase change material 1 12, which may be added over the lower internal matrix 1 10i so as to substantially fill in the space between and above the pins, as shown in FIGURE 5B. The size and spacing of the pins may be selected based on any suitable criteria, such as the thermal requirements of the application in which the encapsulated PCM heat sink 100 is to be implemented or the like. In addition, although illustrated as straight, the pins may have any suitable configuration, such as spiral, zigzag or the like. [0037] As shown in FIGURE 5C, the upper shell 104 includes an integral, upper internal matrix 1 10 2 that comprises pins. The upper shell 104 may be formed together with the upper internal matrix 1 10 2 , or the upper internal matrix 1 10 2 may be coupled to the upper shell 104 after the upper shell 104 is formed. The pins of the upper internal matrix 110 2 are configured to conduct heat or thermal energy between the encapsulated phase change material 1 12 and the upper shell 104. The size and spacing of the pins may be selected based on any suitable criteria, such as the thermal requirements of the application in which the encapsulated PCM heat sink 100 is to be implemented, the size and spacing of the pins of the lower internal matrix 1 10] or the like. It will be understood that the size and spacing of the pins of the upper internal matrix 110 2 may be different from or the same as the size and spacing of the pins of the lower internal matrix HOj . In addition, although illustrated as straight, the pins of the upper internal matrix 1 10 2 may also have any suitable configuration, such as spiral, zigzag or the like.

[0038] As shown in FIGURES 5C-D, the upper shell 104 and the upper internal matrix 1 10 2 may be added over the lower shell 102, the lower internal matrix 1 10) and the encapsulated phase change material 1 12 such that the encapsulated phase change material 1 12 above the lower internal matrix 1 101 substantially fills the space between the pins of the upper internal matrix 1 10 2 . Although the pins of the lower internal matrix 1 10i and the pins of the upper internal matrix 110 2 are illustrated as aligned, it will be understood that these pins may be offset from each other instead, allowing the pins to be of the same length as the pins in FIGURES 3A and 4C or any other suitable length. For some of these embodiments, encapsulated phase change material 112 would not be added above the tops of the pins of the lower internal matrix 1 10].

[0039] As shown in FIGURE 5D, the upper shell 104 may be coupled to the lower shell 102 by sealing the shells 102 and 104 together at the interface 1 14 in any suitable manner, as described above in connection with FIGURE 1, to form the encapsulated PCM heat sink 100.

[0040] FIGURES 6A-E illustrate the formation of the encapsulated PCM heat sink 100 in accordance with one embodiment of the present disclosure. For this particular example, as shown in FIGURE 6A, the lower shell 102 with the cavity 108 formed by the raised edge 106 is provided.

[0041] The internal matrix 1 10, which is represented by dots in FIGURES 6B-E, is then added to the cavity 108, as shown in FIGURE 6B. Instead of pins, in this example, the internal matrix 1 10 may comprise aluminum foam or any other suitable type of thermally- conductive foam. The encapsulated phase change material 1 12 is then added to the space in the internal matrix 110, as shown in FIGURE 6C.

[0042] As shown in FIGURES 6D-E, the upper shell 104 may be added over the lower shell 102, the internal matrix 1 10 and the encapsulated phase change material 1 12, and the shells 102 and 104 may be sealed together at the interface 1 14 in any suitable manner, as described above in connection with FIGURE 1 , to form the encapsulated PCM heat sink 100. Thus, after the upper shell 104 is sealed to the lower shell 102, the internal matrix 1 10 is configured to conduct heat or thermal energy between the encapsulated phase change material 1 12 and either or both of the lower shell 102 and the upper shell 104.

[0043] FIGURE 7 is a flowchart illustrating a method 700 for forming the encapsulated PCM heat sink 100 in accordance with the present disclosure. The method 700 shown in FIGURE 7 is for illustration only. The encapsulated PCM heat sink 100 may be formed in any other suitable manner without departing from the scope of this disclosure.

[0044] Initially, the encapsulated phase change material 1 12 is inserted into the lower shell 102 (step 702). For a particular example, for some embodiments, encapsulated wax powder may be inserted into the cavity 108 in the lower shell 102 (as shown in FIGURE 4B), into the space of the internal matrix 110 in the lower shell 102 (as shown in FIGURE 3B or 6C), or into the space of, and over, the lower internal matrix 110] in the lower shell 102 (as shown in FIGURE 5B).

[0045] The encapsulated phase change material 1 12 is then covered with the upper shell 104 (step 704). For a particular example, for some embodiments, encapsulated wax powder and the internal matrix 1 10 may be covered with the upper shell 104 (as shown in FIGURE 3C or 6D), encapsulated wax powder may be covered with the upper shell 104, which includes the internal matrix 1 10 (as shown in FIGURE 4C), or encapsulated wax powder and the lower internal matrix 1 10i may be covered with the upper shell 104, which includes the upper internal matrix 1 10 2 (as shown in FIGURE 5C).

[0046] The upper shell 104 is then coupled to the lower shell 102 to complete the encapsulated PCM heat sink 100 (step 706). For example, the upper shell 104 may be coupled to the lower shell 102 at the interface 1 14 between the shells 102 and 104 without using high-pressure or high-temperature sealing techniques. Thus, neither vacuum brazing nor high pressure seal plugs are necessary. Instead, the shells 102 and 104 may be coupled together using fasteners, threads, O-rings, tape or any other suitable room temperature and pressure technique. As a result, the encapsulated PCM heat sink 100 may be formed using a process that is significantly less expensive and faster as compared to conventional PCM heat sinks while still providing the benefit of reduced mass as compared to solid metal heat sinks.

[0047] Although FIGURE 7 illustrates one example of a method 700 for forming the encapsulated PCM heat sink 100, various changes may be made to FIGURE 7. For example, while shown as a series of steps, various steps in FIGURE 7 could overlap, occur in parallel, occur in a different order, or occur multiple times.

[0048] Modifications, additions, or omissions may be made to the apparatuses, and methods described herein without departing from the scope of the disclosure. For example, the components of the apparatuses may be integrated or separated. The methods may include more, fewer, or other steps. Additionally, as described above, steps may be performed in any suitable order.

[0049] It may be advantageous to set forth definitions of certain words and phrases used throughout this patent document. The term "couple" and its derivatives refer to any direct or indirect communication between two or more elements, whether or not those elements are in physical contact with one another. The terms "include" and "comprise," as well as derivatives thereof, mean inclusion without limitation. The term "or" is inclusive, meaning and/or. The term "each" refers to each member of a set or each member of a subset of a set. Terms such as "over" and "under" may refer to relative positions in the figures and do not denote required orientations during manufacturing or use. Terms such as "higher" and "lower" denote relative values and are not meant to imply specific values or ranges of values. The phrases "associated with" and "associated therewith," as well as derivatives thereof, may mean to include, be included within, interconnect with, contain, be contained within, connect to or with, couple to or with, be communicable with, cooperate with, interleave, juxtapose, be proximate to, be bound to or with, have, have a property of, or the like.

[0050] While this disclosure has described certain embodiments and generally associated methods, alterations and permutations of these embodiments and methods will be apparent to those skilled in the art. Accordingly, the above description of example embodiments does not define or constrain this disclosure. Other changes, substitutions, and alterations are also possible without departing from the spirit and scope of this disclosure, as defined by the following claims.