The heat dissipation capacity of air-cooled computing and telecommunications cabinets is limited by acoustic noise and fan reliability considerations. The present work quantifies the potential for thermal management of a sealed cabinet using an evaporating mist introduced upstream of the high-power electronic components. The proposed concept consists of droplets of mist being dispersed in the air flowing through a heat sink. The evaporated mist is condensed at the outlet of the circuit packs and recycled back to the inlet. The flow and heat-transfer characteristics of mist flows in a representative heat sink inside the cabinet are explored through numerical analysis of the coupled mass, momentum and energy transport equations for an evaporating two-phase mixture. The effect of droplet size and the mist loading fraction on the heat sink temperature reduction is computed and parametrically analyzed. The results reveal significant insights into the complex transport processes associated with mist flows. Mist cooling is shown to offer significant promise as a feasible thermal management solution for telecommunications cabinets and data centers.

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