A hybrid two-layer evaporator wick is proposed for passive, high-heat-flux dissipation over large areas using a vapor chamber heat spreader. For such applications, the evaporator wick layer must be designed to simultaneously minimize the device temperature rise and minimize the flow resistance to capillary feeding of the wick. This requires a strategy that exploits the benefits of a thin wick for reduced thermal resistance and a thick wick for liquid feeding. In the present design, a thick cap layer of wick material evenly routes liquid to a thin, low-thermal-resistance base layer through an array of vertical liquid-feeding posts. This two-layer structure decouples the functions of liquid resupply (cap layer) and capillary-fed boiling heat transfer (base layer), making the design scalable to heat input areas of ~1 cm2 for operation at 1 kW/cm2. A reduced-order model is developed to demonstrate the potential performance of a vapor chamber incorporating such a two-layer evaporator wick design. The model comprises simplified hydraulic and thermal resistance networks for predicting the capillary-limited maximum heat flux and the overall thermal resistance, respectively. The reduced-order model is validated against a higher fidelity numerical model and then used to analyze the performance of the vapor chamber with varying two-layer wick geometric feature sizes. The two-layer wick design is found to sustain liquid feeding at higher heat fluxes, without reaching the capillary limit, compared to single-layer evaporator wick designs.


Capillary-fed boiling, Dryout, Evaporator wick, Two-layer wick, High-heat-flux dissipation, Thermal resistance, Vapor chamber.

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Sudhakar, J. A. Weibel, and S. V. Garimella, Design of an area-scalable two-layer evaporator wick for high-heat-flux vapor chambers, IEEE Transactions on Components Packaging and Manufacturing Technology 9, pp. 458-472, 2019.