Two-phase microchannel heat exchangers are receiving increasing attention from the microprocessor industry as power density levels in microchips increase. Previous numerical investigations of convective boiling in microchannels assumed steady flow within the channels. However, experimental data shows that two-phase flows in microchannels are highly transient even under steady heat loads. Little work has been done to model the dynamics associated with vapor generation in microchannels. The present work simulates the periodic distribution of vapor within microchannels filled with water by solving one-dimensional homogeneous equations for the mass, momentum and energy transport in conjunction with a transient wall conduction equation. A wall superheat constraint is incorporated to account for the excess superheat temperature required for bubble nucleation. Boiling events reduce the local wall temperature and change the pressure and enthalpy distributions within the flow. The transient pressure fluctuations predicted here are consistent with those observed in experiments. This study provides insight into the significance of bubble nucleation for forced convective boiling in microchannels and will be useful for the optimization of microchannel heat exchangers.

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