Multiwall carbon nanotube (MCNT) has high thermal conductivity, nano size pores and high capillary pressure. All these physical properties make it an ideal candidate as a wick structure in a micro sized heat pipe/spreader. In this paper, experimental investigations evaluate heat transfer performance of the carbon nanotube (CNT) wick and demonstrate its ability to handle high heat flux cooling. The CNT wick structure used for high heat flux experiments employs the bi-wick structure design to overcome high flow resistance in CNT clusters. The wick fabrication technique integrates both microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) patterning and thermal chemical vapor deposition (CVD) CNT growth processes. In high heat flux experiments, the CNT cluster functions as the first order wick structure and provides a large capillary force. The spacing among CNT clusters acts as the second order wick structure thus setting up low resistance liquid supply channels and vapor ventilation paths. Preliminary experiments are conducted in an open chamber system with vertical CNT bi-wick sample setup. Heat flux, as high as 400W/cm2, is demonstrated over 0.16mm2 heating area. Dryout was not observed, whereas the heater soft-bonding material fails at the higher testing heat flux. The experimental results indicate that the CNT bi-wick structure is capable of high heat flux cooling and promises to be the heat transfer element in new generation microelectronics cooling systems.

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