Copper water heat pipes are a well-established solution for many conventional electronics cooling applications; however they have several problems when applied to high temperature electronics. The high vapor pressure of the working fluid combined with the decreasing strength of an already soft material leads to excessive wall thickness, high mass, and an inability to make thermally useful structures such as planar heat pipes (vapor chambers) or heat pipes with flat input surfaces. Titanium/water and Monel/water heat pipes can overcome the disadvantages of copper/water heat pipes and produce a viable thermal management solution for high temperature electronics. Water remains the fluid of choice at temperature up to about 280°C due to its favorable transport properties. Life tests have shown compatibility at high temperature. At temperatures above roughly 300°C, water is no longer a suitable fluid, due to high vapor pressure and low surface tension as the critical point is approached. At higher temperatures, another working fluid/envelope combination is required, either an organic or halide working fluid. Preliminary halide life test results are presented, giving fluids that can operate at temperatures as high as 425°C. At higher temperatures, alkali metal heat pipes are suitable. Water and the higher temperature working fluids can offer solutions for cooling high-temperature electronics, or those working at or above 150°C.

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