UMD Team Wins in RevCon Competition for Second Year Straight

A University of Maryland (UMD) team was one of eight teams selected to participate in the 2015 Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) International Field-Reversible Thermal Connector (RevCon) Challenge. This marks the the second straight year a Maryland was marked as a finalist. The competition challenges student teams to design concepts for a field-reversible, low-thermal resistance thermal connector for use in radar electronics.

The team’s concept aimed at meeting two key challenges: to have a strong clamping force and to be a good thermal conductor that supplied the least thermal resistance between the circuit board and the heat sink. Since the clamp is designed for use in portable electronics units, a strong clamping force prevents the connector from shifting during movement. The team also designed their connector to have a large surface area and made it out of copper for increased thermal conductivity.

As part of the competition, student teams submit proposals that address the uniqueness of their design, concept feasibility, cost analysis for mass production and a clear plan to fabricate their prototype. RevCon provides funds to teams selected to move on in the competition to further develop and refine their prototypes.

According to RevCon's challenge description, "The outcomes [from DARPA's RevCon competition] have turned out to be very inspiring and have demonstrated that the thermal performance of new thermal connectors can be improved significantly."

Student teams from across the United States, China, India, Japan, Taiwan and beyond have participated in the RevCon challenge.

Pictured from left to right: Associate Professor Bao Yang, Haoyuan Liu, Joseph Fustero, Allswell Akrong and Joshua Zelen

About the Team

The 2015 challenge team includes mechanical engineering students Allswell Akrong and Joshua Zelen and UMD alumni mentors Joseph Fustero (B.S., ’14) and Haoyuan Liu (B.S., ’14) and mentored by Associate Professor Bao Yang.

Akrong is a junior in Mechanical Engineering with interests in the fields of thermo-fluids and reliability engineering, and he is responsible for the projects design and testing tasks. Zelen is currently a senior in Mechanical Engineering.

Fustero graduated from the University of Maryland in Mechanical Engineering. His academic and research interests include the thermal fluid sciences, nuclear reactor design and plasma physics, and he intends to pursue a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering next fall.

Liu currently works as a software developer with the company SecurityDo and the UMD Technology Advancement Program (TAP). Previously, he worked as an undergraduate Research Assistant at the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS).

Yang’s expertise is in the areas of thermal management, advanced thermal fluids and thermal property measurement, and this is the second year he has mentored a winning RevCon team.

Published March 12, 2015