Miniaturization of electronic products and a consequent rapid increase in power density of advanced microprocessors and electronic components have created a need for improved cooling techniques to efficiently remove heat from such devices. Traditional air-cooled heat sinks have been utilized for several decades as the most cost-effective cooling technique for electronic cooling applications. However, the existing thermal management solutions are unable to maintain the temperature of the next generation of complex electronic systems within acceptable limits without adding considerable weight and complexity. This paper reports a microstructured wick for application in passive thermal management systems such as heat pipes and vapor chambers. The wick structure consists of mushroom-like composite copper-carbon nanotubes (Cu-CNT) micropillars. The small spacing between micropillar heads provides a higher capillary pressure whereas the large spacing between the base of micropillars provides a higher permeability for liquid flow. The micropillar array was fabricated on a copper substrate using an electroplating technique. The micropillar array was then tested in a controlled environment to experimentally measure its thermal performance under several operating conditions. A heat removal capability of 80 W/cm2 was demonstrated at a wall superheat of 15° C. In addition, a computational study was performed using ANSYS Fluent to predict the thermal performance of the micropillar array. Model predictions were compared with the experimental results and good agreement was obtained.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.