Flow boiling in microchannel heat sinks is capable of providing the high-heat-flux dissipation required for thermal management of next-generation wide bandgap power electronics at low pumping power and uniform surface temperatures. One of the primary issues preventing implementation of these technologies is the presence of flow boiling instabilities, which may reduce the heat transfer performance. However, the effect of individual instabilities, such as the parallel channel instability or pressure drop oscillations, on the overall heat transfer coefficient and critical heat flux in microchannel heat sinks has not been fully quantified. The primary cause of these dynamic flow boiling instabilities is the interaction between the inertia of a two-phase mixture in a heated channel and sources of compressibility located upstream of the inlet. In order to isolate the effect of pressure drop oscillations on flow boiling heat transfer performance, experiments are performed in a single square microchannel cut into a copper heat sink, with a controlled level of upstream compressibility. The impact of pressure drop oscillations on the heat transfer coefficient and critical heat flux is characterized through analysis of both time-averaged steady-state data as well as high-frequency pressure signals synchronized with high-speed visualization. The dielectric working fluid HFE-7100 is used in all experiments with a saturation temperature of 60°C at the channel outlet pressure. The occurrence and effect of pressure drop oscillations in 20 mm long microchannels of three different channel widths (0.5, 0.75, and 1 mm) are related to mass flux, the degree of two-phase flow confinement, and the severity of pressure drop oscillations.

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4. M. D. Clark, J. A. Weibel, and S. V. Garimella, Impact of pressure drop oscillations on surface temperature and critical heat flux during flow boiling in a microchannel, IEEE Transactions on Components Packaging and Manufacturing Technology 11, pp. 1634-1644, 2021.