Cost effective solutions involving thermal-fluid transport need to be developed for various energy applications. The miniaturization of the chip architecture in the electronic devices have caused the challenge of increased heat dissipation and higher power consumption. Hence there is an immediate need for developing efficient and cost-effective solutions for next generation cooling systems. This thermal management challenge can be addressed with maximizing the surface area of the heat exchanging surfaces that can allow dissipation of high heat fluxes. Fractal structures are known to maximize the surface area for compact volumes and are explored as a potential technique to addressing the issue of maximizing heat fluxes in compact volumes.
Fractal structures are effective in maximizing the surface area in compact volumes. Fractals possess the property of self-similarity (the pattern is similar to itself at different levels of magnifications) and infinite recursion (created by repeating a simple process infinitely). Enhanced heat transfer in microelectronic devices can be achieved by increasing the available surface area for heat exchanging fluids within a compact volume. Fractal structures can provide the appropriate technology for the enhancement in heat transfer for these devices.
The proposed model is used to predict the thermal-fluid flow characteristics in microchannel geometries with fractal hierarchies. The chosen fractal architectures in this study are observed to enhance the heat transfer due to the augmentation of surface area in the fractal branching networks of varying length-scales.