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A Polyimide Micro Heat Exchanger With a Suspended 3D Parallel Channel Structure for Cryogenic Application

[+] Author Affiliations
Yunda Wang, Ryan Lewis, M.-H. Lin, Yiwei Yan, Y. C. Lee

University of Colorado (CU) at Boulder, Boulder, CO

Ray Radebaugh, Peter Bradley

National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST), Boulder, CO

Paper No. IMECE2011-62513, pp. 181-186; 6 pages
  • ASME 2011 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 11: Nano and Micro Materials, Devices and Systems; Microsystems Integration
  • Denver, Colorado, USA, November 11–17, 2011
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5497-6
  • Copyright © 2011 by ASME


A heat exchanger (HX) plays an important role in many cryogenic systems. This paper demonstrates a fully integrated fabrication process to make a novel monolithic polyimide micro heat exchanger. This heat exchanger consists of two parallel rectangular polyimide channels stacked on top of each other with a typical dimension of 15 mm × 4 mm × 90 μm. The stacked channels were suspended on top of a silicon substrate as one of the ends anchored. The fabrication is based on surface micro-machining technology using electroplated copper as the sacrificial layers and polyimide as the structural material. Preliminary testing results demonstrated that the polyimide HX can sustain a cryogenic temperature lower than 77 K and is able to hold a pressure larger than 1 MPa. The pressure drop across the channel was found to increase parabolically with the flow-rate through it, as assessed with standard nitrogen at room temperature.

Copyright © 2011 by ASME



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