A pulsating heat pipe (PHP), also known as an oscillating heat pipe (OHP), is a passive thermal transport device which consists of a single meandering microchannel making multiple passes each through an evaporator and condenser. With a sufficient number of such passes, intermittent boiling of liquid slugs within each evaporator pass perturbs flow in adjacent channels leaving the device in a perpetually unstable state of oscillation. A PHP is thus distinguished operationally from a loop thermosyphon by having a motive force other than buoyancy and the ability to operate in all gravitational orientations.
The most successful PHP models to date track liquid slug motion, sensible heating of the slugs, and mass transfer between liquid slugs and vapor plugs due to evaporation and condensation. However, the predictive capabilities of PHP models remain poor and the numbers assigned to evaporation and condensation heat transfer coefficients are generally not well justified by any realistic physical process. The current study applies methods consistent with state of the art prediction methods in microchannel boiling, to obtain results which predict the PHP’s heat transfer performance and the effect of gravitational orientation on performance.