Improving Heat Dissipation of Submarine Network Repeater Enclosures with Novel Filled Material

Guest presenter: Martin's Rubber Company's Technical Manager -Izaak Watson

Izaak Watson

Modern optical fibre repeaters use amplifiers along their length, usually an erbium-doped fibre amplifier with associated electronics and controls. The associated electronics are there to control the amplifier performance but generate a considerable amount of heat during operation.

The number of fibre pairs has continued to increase in response to consumer trends for telecommunications, where repeaters had 2 fibre pairs there are now often more than 16 fibre pairs.

Each repeater contains separate equipment for each fibre, which is powered by a constant direct current. Around 12 – 15 kV is passed down the conductor near the centre of the cable whilst the exterior of the repeater units is electrically grounded. These repeaters can generate around 60 – 120 watts of heat. The conflicting challenge with these high voltage repeater units is how to get the heat out and keep electricity in.

Robust electronics and optics with redundancy in the main components are essential features of the submarine optical repeater as well as optimized power consumption and heat dissipation.  The following work will focus on aspects related to a patented application seeking to improve the heat dissipation of an elastomer barrier in a submerged repeater unit.

Izaak Watson

Figure 1 -Submarine Network Optical Repeater


From a thermal perspective, the improved thermal conductivity of the material can be directly linked to the overall performance increase. While clearly beneficial, quantifying the overall improvement can be challenging. The introduction of anisotropy from fillers is a scenario that is becoming ever more prevalent and issues around filler dispersion are also of notable mention. When dealing with this type of material it is best to have multiple tools in your kit to ensure the most accurate analysis possible. The combination of C-Therm’s Modified Transient Plane Source (MTPS) and FLEX Transient Plane Source (FLEX TPS) methods provides users with a well-rounded solution when dealing with filled composite systems.

This webinar will feature a guest speaker from Martins Rubber to discuss the challenges and opportunities when dealing with optimizing the heat dissipation of the enclosure on the submarine repeater and how their novel materials can provide you with similar benefits in other electronic packaging applications. Discussion of the thermal conductivity analysis will be highlighted throughout with a focus on MTPS and FLEX TPS methods.  The work is relevant for any engineers or development personnel concerned with thermal management in electronics and telecommunication hardware. 

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