A numerical model for transport in flat heat pipes considering wick microstructure effects

Ram Ranjan, Purdue University - Main Campus
Jayathi Y. Murthy, Network for Computational Nanotechnology, School of Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University
Suresh V. Garimella, Purdue University
Unnikrishnan Vadakkan, Intel Corporation

Date of this Version



DOI: 10.1016/j.ijheatmasstransfer.2010.09.057


A transient, three-dimensional model for thermal transport in heat pipes and vapor chambers is developed. The Navier-Stokes equations along with the energy equation are solved numerically for the liquid and vapor flows. A porous medium formulation is used for the wick region. Evaporation and condensation at the liquid-vapor interface are modeled using kinetic theory. The influence of the wick microstructure on evaporation and condensation mass fluxes at the liquid-vapor interface is accounted for by integrating a microstructure-level evaporation model (micromodel) with the device-level model (macromodel). Meniscus curvature at every location along the wick is calculated as a result of this coupling. The model accounts for the change in interfacial area in the wick pore, thin-film evaporation, and Marangoni convection effects during phase change at the liquid-vapor interface. The coupled model is used to predict the performance of a heat pipe with a screen-mesh wick, and the implications of the coupling employed are discussed. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Nanoscience and Nanotechnology