A heat switch includes two symmetric jaws. Each jaw is comprised of a link connected at a translatable joint to a flexible arm. Each arm rotates about a fixed pivot, and has an articulated end including a thermal contact pad connected to a heat sink. The links are joined together at a translatable main joint. To close the heat switch, a closing solenoid is actuated and forces the main joint to an over-center position. This movement rotates the arms about their pivots, respectively, forces each of them into a stressed configuration, and forces the thermal contact pads towards each other and into compressive contact with a cold finger. The closing solenoid is then deactivated. The heat switch remains closed due to a restoring force generated by the stressed configuration of each arm, until actuation of an opening solenoid returns the main joint to its starting open-switch position.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.