A Numerical and Experimental Study of Additively Manufactured Compact Cold Plates for Electronics Cooling Applications
Type of DegreeMaster's Thesis
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This research assesses the viability of metal Additive Manufacturing (AM) to create Compact Cold Plate Heat Exchangers. Unique arrays of offset strip fins were used to increase heat transfer and reduce pressure drop. Cold plates were manufactured utilizing a Laser-Powder Bed Fusion (L-PBF) AM process. Numerical simulations were performed in ANSYS Fluent to predict performance of novel fin array designs. A dimensionless ratio including thermal and hydrodynamic performance, j⁄f , was found for each array to quantify changes in heat transfer and pressure drop. Results indicate a 20% increase in j⁄f for the 200µm-300µm fin array when compared to the baseline geometry. Experiments were performed with the printed samples and the measured apparent Fanning friction across each of the cold plates was found to be between 3% and 46% above simulation predictions. Print orientation was found to have a significant effect on print quality and pressure loss across the final product. Overall, AM is a promising method for producing cold plates; however, thermal performance must be characterized before widespread industry adoption can occur.