The increasing demand for high power density wide-bandgap power electronics has propelled heat transfer research leading to a constant increase in the thermal performance of cold plates and heat sinks. Most of this research has focused on reducing thermal resistance of the package which can have a detrimental effect on transient thermal performance if thermal capacitance is reduced.

In order to provide both a low thermal resistance and a higher thermal capacitance integrated into the package and near the thermal junction, a new cold plate called the Package Integrated Cyclone COoler (PICCO) was developed. GE Research and the US Army Research Lab collaborated to explore and validate the potential of this concept.

The PICCO coldplate, which is enabled by 3D printing, establishes a swirling coolant flow field to remove heat. The swirling flow is anticipated to significantly aid in vapor removal from the surface and hence allow for the fluid to provide thermal capacitance through two-phase heat transfer efficiently.

This paper describes the experiment design and development for thermal storage and cooling performance characterization of PICCO. The test rig includes a high-pressure capability gear pump moving fluid first through a Coriolis flowmeter and then through PICCO, where the fluid is accelerated in the cyclone and heated by miniaturized ceramic heaters, simulating SiC power electronics. The coolant releases the accumulated enthalpy to a plate-fin heat exchanger that is connected to a chiller. Several absolute and differential pressure transducers and thermocouples monitor the state of FC-72. The experiments will provide empirical transfer functions characterizing the PICCO pressure drop, heat transfer coefficient, critical heat flux and thermal energy storage capability.

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