This research presents results from experimental investigations on helix-finned surface fabricated by a 3D printing technique to evaluate boiling heat transfer performance. The experiments were conducted in saturated water at atmospheric pressure. To the author’s knowledge, this is the first attempt that helical pin fins are employed in thermal management. The boiling curve of the enhanced surface was characterized by a much lower wall superheat at the same heat flux compared with plain surfaces. High-speed visualization was used to display instantaneous bubble behaviors such as the bubble departure frequency, which was obtained from analyzed images. It was observed that the helix-finned surface had higher bubble departure frequencies compared to plain surfaces and an earlier onset of nucleate boiling was noticed. It is concluded that the surface roughness and micron level cavities produced by the 3D printing technique on the helix surface are key factors to enhance boiling heat transfer. With the experience gained, dimension optimization of helical structure should be studied further to meet the needs of increased heat dissipation rate.

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