In this study we propose a new cooling concept using encapsulated phase-change particles flowing in a parallel-plate mini-channel. This novel concept is inspired by the gas exchange process in alveolar capillaries, where red blood cells (RBCs) flow with blood plasma, yielding very high gas transfer efficiency. Another important characteristic of alveolar capillary blood flow, which is related to the high efficiency of the lungs, is the snug fitting of the RBCs into the capillary. Hence, we conjecture that using particles similar to RBCs, i.e. with diameter similar to the spacing between the parallel plates, is likely to lead to high heat transfer efficiency as well. We report here experimental results of preliminary tests performed with octadecane paraffin (C18H38), a phase-change material, encapsulated in a thin melamine shell, flowing with water through a heated parallel-plate channel test module. We measured the temperature distribution along the heated surface of the channel for various water flow rates, with and without particles, and varying the number of particles. Results are reported in terms of the channel heated surface average temperature and the average Nusselt number.

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