A novel two-phase thermosyphon with a metal foam based evaporator is presented as a solution for the cooling of power-electronic semiconductor modules. A horizontal evaporator configuration is investigated: the evaporator consists of an aluminum chamber, with aluminum foam brazed to the base plate in three different configurations. One of the configurations has an open vapor chamber above the foam, another has foam filling the entire evaporator chamber, and the third has bores drilled in the foam parallel to the base plate from inlet to outlet along the direction of the vapor flow. The aluminum foam has a porosity of 95%, and a pore density of 20 PPI (pores per inch). A liquid distribution and a vapor collector chamber are respectively present at the entrance and at the exit of the evaporator. The power modules are attached on the evaporator body that collects the heat generated during the operation of the semiconductor devices. A vapor riser guides the vapor to a finned-tube air-cooled heat exchanger. A liquid downcomer from the condenser constantly feeds the evaporator channels. The system works with gravity-driven circulation only. The described system was designed and tested with an extensive experimental campaign. The evaporators were tested for power losses ranging between 500 and 3000 W, corresponding to applied heat fluxes between 3 and 20 W/cm2. The experimental results will be presented for inlet air at ambient temperature of 20°C with volumetric flow rates between 100 and 680 m3/h. The working fluid was refrigerant R245fa. The fluid filling effect was investigated. For each evaporator the results will be presented in terms of maximum thermal resistance and cooler base temperature. The base temperature distribution between different evaporators will also be presented and discussed being an important design parameter in power electronics cooling. Thermal resistances were measured between 15 and 30 K/kW. The experimental results indicated a promising conclusion favoring the implementation of aluminum foam evaporators for enhancement of heat transfer during pool boiling.

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