A two-layer sintered porous evaporator wick for use in vapor chambers is shown to offer very high performance in passive high-heat-flux dissipation over large areas at a low thermal resistance. The two-layer wick has an upper cap layer dedicated to capillary liquid feeding of a thin base layer below that supports boiling. An array of vertical posts bridges these two layers for liquid feeding, while vents in the cap layer provide an unimpeded pathway for vapor removal from the base wick. The two-layer wick is fabricated using a combination of sintering and laser machining processes. The thermal resistance of the wicks during boiling is characterized in a saturated environment that replicates the capillary-fed working conditions of a vapor chamber evaporator. Thermal characterization tests are first performed using conventional single-layer evaporator wicks to analyze the effect of sintered particle size on capillaryfed boiling of water. Of the particle size ranges tested, wicks sintered from 180 to 212 micrometer-diameter particles provided the best combination of high dryout heat flux and a low boiling resistance. A two-layer evaporator wick comprising particles of this optimal size and a 15 x 15 array of liquid feeding posts yielded a maximum heat flux dissipation of 485 W/cm2 over a 1 cm2 heat input area while also maintaining a low thermal resistance of only ~0.052 K/W. The thermal performance of the two-layer wick is compared against various hybrid and biporous evaporator wicks previously investigated in the literature. While previous wick designs are typically restricted to small areas and low power levels or high surface superheats when dissipating such heat fluxes, the unique area-scalability of the two-layer wick design allows it to achieve an unprecedented combination of high total power and low-thermal-resistance heat dissipation over larger areas than were previously possible.
High-heat-flux dissipation, Low thermal resistance, Capillary-fed boiling, Sintered wick, Vapor chamber, Two-layer evaporator wick, Dryout
Date of this Version
S. Sudhakar, J. A. Weibel, F. Zhou, E.M. Dede, and S. V. Garimella, Area-scalable high-heat-flux dissipation at low thermal resistance using a capillary-fed two-layer evaporator wick, International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer 135, pp. 1346-1356, 2019.