Flow boiling provides an effective means of heat removal but can suffer from thermal and hydrodynamic transients that compromise heat transfer performance and trigger device failure. In this study, the transient flow boiling characteristics in two thermally isolated, hydrodynamically coupled parallel microchannels are investigated experimentally. High-speed flow visualization is synchronized to high-frequency heat flux, wall temperature, pressure drop, and mass flux measurements to provide time-resolved characterization. Two constant and two transient heating conditions are presented. For a constant heat flux of 63 kW/m2 into each channel, boiling occurs continuously in both channels and the parallel channel instability is observed to occur at 15 Hz. Time-periodic oscillations in the pressure drop and average mass flux are observed, but corresponding oscillations in the wall temperatures are virtually non-existent at this condition. At a slightly lower constant heat flux of 60 kW/m2, boiling remains continuous in one of the channels, but the other channel experiences time-periodic flow regime oscillations between single-phase and two-phase flow. At this condition, extreme time-periodic wall temperature oscillations are observed in both channels with a long period (~7 s) due to oscillations in the severity of the flow maldistribution. For the transient heating conditions, square wave heating profiles oscillating between different heat flux levels are applied to the channels. Because of their relatively high frequency, the heating transients are attenuated by the microchannel walls, resulting in effectively constant heating conditions and flow boiling characteristics like that of the aforementioned constant heating conditions. This study illustrates the susceptibility of parallel two-phase heat sinks to flow maldistribution, particularly when undergoing transient flow regime oscillations.

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T. A. Kingston, B. D. Olson, J. A. Weibel, and S. V. Garimella, Transient flow boiling and maldistribution characteristics in heated parallel channels induced by flow regime oscillations, IEEE Transactions on Components Packaging and Manufacturing Technology 11, pp. 1615-1624, 2021.