Journal article

Understanding the self-sustained oscillating two-phase flow motion in a closed loop pulsating heat pipe

In the framework of efficient thermal management schemes, pulsating heat pipes (PHPs) represent a breakthrough solution for passive on-chip two-phase flow cooling of micro-electronics. Unfortunately, the unique coupling of thermodynamics, hydrodynamics and heat transfer, responsible for the self-sustained pulsating two-phase flow in such devices, presents many challenges to the understanding of the underlying physical phenomena which have so far eluded accurate prediction. In this experimental study, the novel time-strip image processing technique was used to investigate the thermo-flow dynamics of a single-turn channel CLPHP (closed loop pulsating heat pipe) charged with R245fa and tested under different operating conditions. The resulting frequency data confirmed the effect of flow pattern, and thus operating conditions, on the oscillating behavior. Dominant frequencies from 1.2 Hz for the oscillating regime to 0.6 Hz for the unidirectional flow circulation regime were measured, whilst wide spectral bands were observed for the unstable circulation regime. In order to analytically assess the observed trends in the spectral behavior, a spring-mass-damper system model was developed for the two-phase flow motion. As well as showing that system stiffness and mass have an effect on the two-phase flow dynamics, further insights into the flow pattern transition mechanism were also gained. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


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