Metal foams enhance heat transfer rates by providing significant increase in wetted surface area and by thermal dispersion caused by flow mixing induced by the tortuous flow paths. Further, jet impingement is also an effective method of enhancing local convective heat transfer rates. In the present study, we have carried out an experimental investigation to study the combined effect of the two thermal performance-enhancement mechanisms. To this end, we conducted a set of experiments to determine convective heat transfer rates by impinging an array of jets onto thin metal foams attached on a uniformly heated smooth aluminum plate simulating a high heat-dissipating chip. The metal foams used were high porosity aluminum foams (ε∼0.94–0.96) with pore densities of 5 ppi, 10 ppi and 20 ppi (ppi: pores per inch) with thicknesses of 19 mm, 12.7 mm and 6.35 mm, respectively. With the jet-to-foam distance (z/d) set to zero, we conducted experiments with values of jet-to-jet spacing (x/d = y/d) of 2, 3 and 5. The jet plate featured an array of 5 × 5 cylindrical jet-issuing nozzles. The normalized jet-to-jet distance was varied by changing the jet diameter and keeping the jet center-to-center distance constant. Steady state heat transfer and pressure drop experiments were carried out for Reynolds number (based on jet diameter) ranging from 2500 to 10000. We have found that array impingement on thin foams leads to a significant enhancement in heat transfer compared to normal impingement over smooth surfaces. The gain in heat transfer was greatest for the 20 ppi foam (∼2.3 to 2.8 times that for the plain surface smooth target). However, this enhancement came at a significant increase of about 2.85 times in the plenum static pressure. With the pressure drop penalty taken into consideration, the x/d = 3 jet plate for the 20 ppi foam and x/d = 2 jet plate for the 10 ppi foam were found to be the most efficient cooling designs amongst the 18 cooling designs investigated in the present study.

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