An experimental investigation was performed to study the effect that the introduction of a gap between a heated fin and a porous media would have on the heat removal characteristics of a capillary evaporator. In these experiments, a thin stainless steel resistive foil stretched between two copper electrodes was used to heat a saturated porous plate with an effective pore size of 50 microns. The temperature distribution on a 10 mm wide simulated fin was measured by a high-speed infra-red thermal imaging system. The heat removal performance was investigated for gap distances of 0.00 to 1.00 mm and for heat fluxes of 17 to 180 kW/m2. These results showed that the maximum heat transfer rate that could be achieved before persistent hot spots were observed on the surface increased with gap distance. Local temperature measurements made using thermocouples embedded in the porous media indicate that vapour penetration into the porous wick is intermittent, and that there is no stable single phase blanket of vapour. For a gap distance of 0.00 mm, this penetration is more uniformly distributed across the width of the heated fin than at a gap distance of 0.50 mm. In the latter case, the vapour distribution is much higher near the edge of the heated fin.

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