Local heat transfer distribution and effect of instabilities during flow boiling in a silicon microchannel heat sink

Tailian Chen, Gonzaga University
Suresh V. Garimella, Birck Nanotechnology Center, Purdue University

Date of this Version



Flow boiling of the perfluorinated dielectric fluid FC-77 in a silicon microchannel heat sink is investigated. The heat sink contains 60 parallel microchannels each of 100 mu m width and 389 mu m depth. Twenty-five evenly distributed temperature sensors in the substrate yield local heat transfer coefficients. The pressure drop across the channels is also measured. Experiments are conducted at five flow rates through the heat sink in the range of 20-80 ml/min with the inlet subcooling held at 26 K in all the tests. At each flow rate, the uniform heat input to the substrate is increased in steps so that the fluid experiences flow regimes from single-phase liquid flow to the occurrence of critical heat flux (CHF). In the upstream region of the channels, the flow develops from single-phase liquid flow at low heat fluxes to pulsating two-phase flow at high heat fluxes during flow instability that commences at a threshold heat flux in the range of 30.5-62.3 W/cm(2) depending on the flow rate. In the downstream region, progressive flow patterns from bubbly flow, slug flow, elongated bubbles or annular flow, alternating wispy-annular and churn flow, and wall dryout at highest heat fluxes are observed. As a result, the heat transfer coefficients in the downstream region experience substantial variations over the entire heat flux range, based on which five distinct boiling regimes are identified. In contrast, the heat transfer coefficient midway along the channels remains relatively constant over the heat flux range tested. Due to changes in flow patterns during flow instability, the heat transfer is enhanced both in the downstream region (prior to extended wall dryout) and in the upstream region. A previous study by the authors found no effect of instabilities during flow boiling in a heat sink with larger microchannels (each 300 mu m wide and 389 mu m deep); it appears therefore that the effect of instabilities on heat transfer is amplified in smaller-sized channels. While CHF increases with increasing flow rate, the pressure drop across the channels has only a minimal dependence on flow rate once boiling is initiated in the microchannels, and varies almost linearly with increasing heat flux. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Nanoscience and Nanotechnology