Systems and methods described herein are directed to rotary heat exchangers configured to transfer heat to a heat transfer medium flowing in substantially axial direction within the heat exchangers. Exemplary heat exchangers include a heat conducting structure which is configured to be in thermal contact with a thermal load or a thermal sink, and a heat transfer structure rotatably coupled to the heat conducting structure to form a gap region between the heat conducting structure and the heat transfer structure, the heat transfer structure being configured to rotate during operation of the device and flow a heat transfer medium in a substantially axial direction through the heat transfer structure. In example devices heat may be transferred across the gap region from a heated axial flow of the heat transfer medium to a cool stationary heat conducting structure, or from a heated stationary conducting structure to a cool axial flow of the heat transfer medium.
STATEMENT REGARDING RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT
 This invention was developed under Contract DE-AC04-94AL85000 between Sandia Corporation and the U.S. Department of Energy. The U.S. Government has certain rights in this invention.