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A theoretical analysis of microchannel flow boiling enhancement via cross-sectional expansion

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Microchannel heat sinks can possess heat transfer characteristics unavailable in conventional heat exchangers; such sinks offer compact solutions to otherwise intractable thermal management problems, notably in small-scale electronics cooling. Flow

Microchannel heat sinks can possess heat transfer characteristics unavailable in conventional heat exchangers; such sinks offer compact solutions to otherwise intractable thermal management problems, notably in small-scale electronics cooling. Flow boiling in microchannels allows a very high heat transfer rate, but is bounded by the critical heat flux (CHF). This thesis presents a theoretical-numerical study of a method to improve the heat rejection capability of a microchannel heat sink via expansion of the channel cross-section along the flow direction. The thermodynamic quality of the refrigerant increases during flow boiling, decreasing the density of the bulk coolant as it flows. This may effect pressure fluctuations in the channels, leading to nonuniform heat transfer and local dryout in regions exceeding CHF. This undesirable phenomenon is counteracted by permitting the cross-section of the microchannel to increase along the direction of flow, allowing more volume for the vapor. Governing equations are derived from a control-volume analysis of a single heated rectangular microchannel; the cross-section is allowed to expand in width and height. The resulting differential equations are solved numerically for a variety of channel expansion profiles and numbers of channels. The refrigerant is R-134a and channel parameters are based on a physical test bed in a related experiment. Significant improvement in CHF is possible with moderate area expansion. Minimal additional manufacturing costs could yield major gains in the utility of microchannel heat sinks. An optimum expansion rate occurred in certain cases, and alterations in the channel width are, in general, more effective at improving CHF than alterations in the channel height. Modest expansion in height enables small width expansions to be very effective.

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Date Created
  • 2011

An experimental investigation of capillary driven flow in open rectangular channels: a method to create PDMS microfilaments for pN scale force measurements

Description

The flow of liquid PDMS (10:1 v/v base to cross-linker ratio) in open, rectangular silicon micro channels, with and without a hexa-methyl-di-silazane (HMDS) or poly-tetra-fluoro-ethylene (PTFE) (120 nm) coat, was

The flow of liquid PDMS (10:1 v/v base to cross-linker ratio) in open, rectangular silicon micro channels, with and without a hexa-methyl-di-silazane (HMDS) or poly-tetra-fluoro-ethylene (PTFE) (120 nm) coat, was studied. Photolithographic patterning and etching of silicon wafers was used to create micro channels with a range of widths (5-50 μm) and depths (5-20 μm). The experimental PDMS flow rates were compared to an analytical model based on the work of Lucas and Washburn. The experimental flow rates closely matched the predicted flow rates for channels with an aspect ratio (width to depth), p, between one and two. Flow rates in channels with p less than one were higher than predicted whereas the opposite was true for channels with p greater than two. The divergence between the experimental and predicted flow rates steadily increased with increasing p. These findings are rationalized in terms of the effect of channel dimensions on the front and top meniscus morphology and the possible deviation from the no-slip condition at the channel walls at high shear rates.

In addition, a preliminary experimental setup for calibration tests on ultrasensitive PDMS cantilever beams is reported. One loading and unloading cycle is completed on a microcantilever PDMS beam (theoretical stiffness 0.5 pN/ µm). Beam deflections are actuated by adjusting the buoyancy force on the beam, which is submerged in water, by the addition of heat. The expected loading and unloading curve is produced, albeit with significant noise. The experimental results indicate that the beam stiffness is a factor of six larger than predicted theoretically. One probable explanation is that the beam geometry may change when it is removed from the channel after curing, making assumptions about the beam geometry used in the theoretical analysis inaccurate. This theory is bolstered by experimental data discussed in the report. Other sources of error which could partially contribute to the divergent results are discussed. Improvements to the experimental setup for future work are suggested.

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  • 2014