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Boiling Flow Interaction Between Two Parallel Microchannels

[+] Author Affiliations
Roger D. Flynn, David W. Fogg, Jae-Mo Koo, Ching-Hsiang Cheng, Kenneth E. Goodson

Stanford University

Paper No. IMECE2006-14696, pp. 317-322; 6 pages
  • ASME 2006 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Heat Transfer, Volume 2
  • Chicago, Illinois, USA, November 5 – 10, 2006
  • Conference Sponsors: Heat Transfer Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4785-3 | eISBN: 0-7918-3790-4
  • Copyright © 2006 by ASME


Microchannel heat exchangers predominately use a parallel channel configuration to maximize heat transfer with minimal pump demand. Previous work optimized bulk performance of liquid flow heat exchangers but noted that upon boiling, flow redistributed among parallel channels, and they ultimately found that this instability caused an uncontrollable operating condition. This work predicts and measures fully coupled boiling flow interaction in a simplified two microchannel system. A series of silicon microfabricated devices enable piecewise study of the coupled fluidic and heat transfer interactions, first uniting the fluid inlets of thermally isolated channels, then connecting neighboring channel walls to allow heat transfer between channels. Multiple combinations of boiling and liquid flow, each satisfying system boundary conditions, are identified using flow demand curves assembled from single channel data. Each unique flow condition is experimentally demonstrated and found to be heavily dependent on the prior state of the channels. Connecting channel walls, thermally, is shown to lessen the number of allowed solutions and increase instability in the two channel system, allowing distinction between purely fluidic instabilities and fluidic instabilities coupled to heat transfer between channels. This work in describing interaction between two channels is a necessary step as work continues toward characterizing flow boiling in more complex parallel channel heat sinks.

Copyright © 2006 by ASME



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