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Passivation and Performance of Inorganic Aqueous Solutions in a Grooved, Aluminum Flat Heat Pipe

[+] Author Affiliations
Michael Stubblebine, Ladan Amouzegar, Ivan Catton

UCLA, Los Angeles, CA

Paper No. IMECE2013-65641, pp. V08CT09A061; 7 pages
  • ASME 2013 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 8C: Heat Transfer and Thermal Engineering
  • San Diego, California, USA, November 15–21, 2013
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5636-9
  • Copyright © 2013 by ASME


Aluminum heat pipes have traditionally been incompatible with water and water-based fluids because they quickly react with the casing to generate non-condensable hydrogen gas (NCG). The NCGs inhibit the operation of evaporation and condensation based devices, eventually plugging the condenser end of the heat pipe. The heat pipe is then unable to remove heat from the condenser and the device fails. Terdtoon [1] found that these events often happen so rapidly between aluminum and water that measurements cannot even be taken. The present work tested two different, patented inorganic aqueous solutions (IAS) in a flat heat pipe setup. Grooved aluminum plates were used as the heat pipe wick and the tests were run with the heating section raised above the condenser. Compatibility between the working fluid and aluminum heat pipe was established by running the device to dryout and then reducing the heat flux to check for hysteresis. De-ionized water (DI water) was also tested, as a baseline, to establish that it did indeed fail as expected. Operating performance of each mixture was obtained from zero heat input until dryout was reached for multiple angles of inclination. The data show that both IAS mixtures are compatible with aluminum heat pipes and exhibit performance similar to that of a copper and water heat pipe. IAS and aluminum heat pipes could replace existing copper and water devices and deliver similar performance while reducing overall weight by more than three times. An IAS and aluminum heat pipe could also replace existing aluminum and ammonia combinations, currently favored in aerospace applications, to allow for increased performance and a larger operating temperature range while maintaining low device weight.

Copyright © 2013 by ASME



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