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Fabrication and Characterization of a Liquid-Metal Micro-Droplet Array for Use as a Thermal Switch

[+] Author Affiliations
A. O. Christensen, J. P. Jacob, C. D. Richards, D. F. Bahr, R. F. Richards

Washington State University, Pullman, WA

Paper No. HT2003-47317, pp. 97-100; 4 pages
  • ASME 2003 Heat Transfer Summer Conference
  • Heat Transfer: Volume 1
  • Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, July 21–23, 2003
  • Conference Sponsors: Heat Transfer Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-3693-2 | eISBN: 0-7918-3679-7
  • Copyright © 2003 by ASME


This paper presents the development of a liquid metal micro-droplet array for use as a thermal switch. A method of producing arrays of mercury micro-droplets on a silicon substrate, which is compatible with batch manufacturing, is detailed. A technique for examining the deformation of the micro-droplets under an applied load is offered. For 30μm diameter droplets under deformation, contact diameters ranging from 0–30μm, and forces of 0–0.10mN are examined. Predicted values of thermal contact resistance as a function of applied load to the switch are given, indicating that a thermal switch whose thermal resistance changes by a factor of ten could be fabricated.

Copyright © 2003 by ASME



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