Porous media like open celled metal foams inherently provide a high heat transfer area per unit volume due to their interconnected cellular structure and are lightweight. High pore density metal foam because of its small overall dimensions and micro feature size shows promise in thermal packaging of compact electronics. An experimental study was carried out to evaluate thermal performance of high porosity (95%) and high pore density (90 PPI) copper foam of size 20 mm × 20 mm × 3 mm in buoyancy induced flow conditions and compared with a baseline smooth surface. The enhanced surface showed about 15% enhancement in average heat transfer coefficient over the baseline case. To optimize the performance further, the foam sample was cut into strips of 20 mm × 5 mm × 3 mm and attached symmetrically on the central 20 mm2 base surface area with inter-spacing of 2.5 mm. This new configuration led to further 15% enhancement in heat transfer even with 25% lesser heat transfer area. This is significant as heat transfer is seen as a strong function of permeability to flow through the structure over heat conduction through it. To test this hypothesis, a third configuration was tested in which the strips were further cut into blocks of 4 mm × 4 mm × 3 mm and attached in a 3 × 3 array on to the base surface. Here, only 36% of the central 20 mm2 base surface area was covered with foam. The heat transfer performance was found to be within ± 10% of the initial metal foam configuration, thereby, supporting the hypothesis. Performance was seen to decrease with increase in inclination from 0° to 30° to 90° with respect to the vertical.

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