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The Effect of Ship Tilt and Pitch on a Capillary Assisted Thermosyphon (CAT) for Shipboard Electronics Cooling

[+] Author Affiliations
E. H. Larsen, A. N. Smith, M. Cerza

U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD

C. Thomas Conroy

Bechtel Bettis, Inc., West Mifflin, PA

Paper No. IMECE2003-42102, pp. 211-217; 7 pages
  • ASME 2003 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Heat Transfer, Volume 2
  • Washington, DC, USA, November 15–21, 2003
  • Conference Sponsors: Heat Transfer Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-3718-1 | eISBN: 0-7918-4663-6, 0-7918-4664-4, 0-7918-4665-2
  • Copyright © 2003 by ASME


As microprocessors shrink in size and increase in power dissipation levels, the current need for advanced electronics cooling techniques is paramount. Power dissipation levels are rapidly exceeding the capabilities of forced air convection cooling. This paper reports an investigation of using a capillary assisted thermosyphon (CAT) for the shipboard cooling of electronics components. The CAT differs from the capillary pumped loop (CPL) or loop heat pipe (LHP) system in that the basic cooling loop is based on a thermosyphon. The capillary assist comes from the fact that there is a wicking structure in the flat evaporator plate. The wicking structure is there to spread the working fluid across the vertical flat plate evaporator to the areas under the heat sources. This differs from a capillary pumped loop in that the capillary pumping action of the wick structure does not produce the sole pumping head from the liquid return to the vapor outlet side of the evaporator. In fact, the liquid return and vapor outlet are almost at the same pressure. The forced circulation in the thermosyphon is caused by a gravity head between the condenser cold plate and the flat plate evaporator. An experimental facility for conducting research on a CAT was developed. In order to simulate the shipboard cooling water encountered at various locations of the ocean, the heat sink temperature of the facility was varied. A vertical flat plate, CAT evaporator was designed and tested with a thermal sink temperature of 21° C. The condenser cold plate cooling water flowrate was set at 3.8 lpm. The heat input was held constant at 1500 W for the independent tilt and pitch cases. For the extreme tilt and pitch combined case, the heat input varied from 400 to 2000 W. The flat evaporator plate was tilted from side to side over a range +/− 45 degrees from vertical and the plate was pitched fore and aft over a range of +/− 45 degrees. This tilt and pitch orientation was to simulate that orientation which a ship might undergo in various sea states. In addition an extreme case which consisted of a 45 degree tilt and a 45 degree pitch was tested and compared to the normal vertical geometry. Results indicate that the CAT loop was very robust and handled all geometric orientations with minimal degradation in operating temperature performance.

Copyright © 2003 by ASME



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