This paper presents a flow visualization study on the temperature oscillations inside a loop heat pipe in order to gain a better understanding of its heat transfer characteristics. A flat loop heat pipe (FLHP) with a flat evaporator instead of a typical cylindrical evaporator was built using copper as the shell and water as the working fluid. An experimental setup was designed by using the transparent material instead of copper in some parts of the FLHP. The experiment results showed that there were at least three different flow patterns in the vapor line as the heating power increased. The temperatures in different locations of the loop oscillated even when the heating power was kept constant. The largest amplitude of the temperature oscillation in the loop was located at the condenser outlet. It was found that the temperature oscillation at the condenser outlet could be divided into two types, one with smaller amplitudes and the other with larger amplitudes. The smaller amplitude temperature oscillations were always there when the heating power was increased step by step, while the larger amplitude temperature oscillations would disappear initially and show up later. Finally, the location of the vapor/liquid interface inside the condenser varied with the temperature oscillations, resulting in liquid/vapor interface motion in the compensation chamber.

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