Liquid-vapor phase change heat transfer in microchannels offers a number of significant advantages for thermal management of high heat flux laser diodes, including reduced flow rates and near constant temperature heat rejection. Modern laser diode bars can produce waste heat loads >1 kW cm−2, and prior studies show that microchannel flow boiling heat transfer at these heat fluxes is possible in very compact heat exchanger geometries. This paper describes further performance improvements through area enhancement of microchannels using a pyramid etching scheme that increases heat transfer area by ∼40% over straight walled channels, which works to promote heat spreading and suppress dry-out phenomenon when exposed to high heat fluxes. The device is constructed from a reactive ion etched silicon wafer bonded to borosilicate to allow flow visualization. The silicon layer is etched to contain an inlet and outlet manifold and a plurality of 40μm wide, 200μm deep, 2mm long channels separated by 40μm wide fins. 15μm wide 150μm long restrictions are placed at the inlet of each channel to promote uniform flow rate in each channel as well as flow stability in each channel. In the area enhanced parts either a 3μm or 6μm sawtooth pattern was etched vertically into the walls, which were also scalloped along the flow path with the a 3μm periodicity. The experimental results showed that the 6μm area-enhanced device increased the average maximum heat flux at the heater to 1.26 kW cm2 using R134a, which compares favorably to a maximum of 0.95 kw cm2 dissipated by the plain walled test section. The 3μm area enhanced test sections, which dissipated a maximum of 1.02 kW cm2 showed only a modest increase in performance over the plain walled test sections. Both area enhancement schemes delayed the onset of critical heat flux to higher heat inputs.

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