An Experimental Investigation of Liquid Metal MHPs
Type of DegreeThesis
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The concept of heat pipes was introduced by R. S. Gaugler in 1940s and Cotter first introduced the idea of “micro” heat pipes in 1984. Cotter in his paper, defined the micro heat pipe as being one in which the mean curvature of the vapor-liquid interface is comparable in magnitude to the reciprocal of the hydraulic radius of the total flow channel. The Micro Heat Pipes (MHPs) work efficiently through the use of two-phase heat transfer. Various working fluids have been tried in combination with various substrate materials. In this experimental work the main focus was to study the behavior of liquid metal filled MHPs made from silicon as the substrate material. Specially designed MHPs were assembled and charged with mercury as the working fluid. A special test setup was designed and built for the experimental work and the response of the MHPs to the controlled increment in the input power is presented. A number of experiments were carried out on the specimen MHPs to determine their effective thermal conductivity, the variation of the temperature along the axial length and the performance enhancement factor. Effective thermal conductivities as high as 900 W/m-K with a silicon equivalence of 6 were achieved with the liquid metal MHP. Based on the results from the various performance testing parameters, it was observed that the liquid metal charged MHPs performed substantially better than conventional MHPs filled with organic working fluids. The limitations and the possible methods of improving the performance of the MHPs are discussed.