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Flat Polymer Heat Spreader With High Aspect Ratio Micro Hybrid Wick Operating Under Adverse Gravity

[+] Author Affiliations
Christopher Oshman, Qian Li, Li-Anne Liew, Ronggui Yang, Y. C. Lee, Victor M. Bright

University of Colorado, Boulder, CO

Paper No. IMECE2011-64264, pp. 601-606; 6 pages
  • ASME 2011 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 10: Heat and Mass Transport Processes, Parts A and B
  • Denver, Colorado, USA, November 11–17, 2011
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5496-9
  • Copyright © 2011 by ASME


We report the successful fabrication and application of a micro-scale hybrid liquid wicking structure in flat polymer-based heat spreaders to improve the heat transfer performance under gravitational acceleration. The hybrid wick consists of 100 μm high, 200 μm wide square electroformed high aspect ratio copper micro-pillars with 31 μm spacing for liquid flow. A woven copper mesh with 51 μm diameter and 76 μm spacing was bonded to the top surface of the pillars to enhance evaporation and condensation heat transfer. The exterior device geometry is 40 mm × 40 mm × 1.0 mm. The 100 μm thick liquid crystal polymer (LCP) casing contains a two-dimensional array of copper filled vias to reduce the overall thermal resistance. The device was tested with heat flux input of up to 63 W/cm2 at horizontal and vertical orientations. The difference in temperature between the evaporator and condenser was measured and compared to a copper reference block of identical exterior dimensions. The experimentally determined thermal resistance of the copper block remained nearly constant at 1.2 K/W. The thermal resistance of the flat polymer heat spreader at horizontal orientation was 0.55 K/W. The same device at −90° adverse orientation resulted in a thermal resistance of 0.60 K/W. These measurements indicate that this hybrid wicking structure is capable of providing a capillary pumping pressure that is effective at transferring at least 63 W/cm2 heat flux regardless of orientation. This work illustrates an important step to developing more effective thermal management strategies for the next generation of heat generating components and the possibility of developing flexible, polymer-based heat spreaders fabricated with standardized printed circuit board technologies.

Copyright © 2011 by ASME



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