Abstract

Phase change thermal management devices including heat pipes and ultra-thin vapor chambers can remove and spread the excess heat from microprocessors more efficiently compared with the conventional heat sinks. However, the capillary and CHF limits of the evaporator section remained a challenge for high heat flux (> 100 Wcm−2) large area (> 5 × 5 mm2) applications. In this study, a hybrid microporous structure consists of copper wire meshes (CWMs) as the liquid delivery routing and copper inverse opals (CIOs) film as the boiling/evaporation platform is proposed. The feasibility of the approach and the design optimization were studied with extensive modeling and CFD simulations. For the experiment setup, the heater and the RTD sensors are fabricated over a Silicon chip using the conventional micro fabrication processes and the micro porous copper film is deposited based on template-assisted electrodeposition, resulting in CIOs structure with average 5 μm pore size, 1 μm neck, and 15 μm thickness. A copper wire mesh structure (500 μm thickness, 0.5 porosity, 71 μm wire diameter) with 4 × 4 tile openings (1 × 1 mm2 area per tile) was fixed over the CIOs film with mechanical constraints. A flow loop and vapor chamber are designed and fabricated to perform capillary boiling experiments in a saturated environment (liquid water and vapor at ∼100°C). The hybrid microporous structure was able to remove over 75 W from the 5 × 5 mm2 heater area (over 300 W cm−2 heat flux) with 9°C super heat resulting in thermal resistance of 0.03 cm2°CW−1 at the CHF. The findings of this study are largely beneficial for the design and fabrication of high performance evaporator wicks and next-generation heat routing technologies.

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