The oscillating heat pipe is considered a promising candidate for high-efficiency and compact thermal control for next-generation electronics. In this paper, the visualized flow and heat transfer characteristics of two silicon-based micro oscillating heat pipes (micro-OHPs) with expanding and straight channels, respectively, were experimentally investigated. The overall size of these two micro-OHPs are both 28 mm × 23 mm × 1.025 mm and have thirty rectangular cross-section channels. The hydraulic diameter of parallel direct channel is 332.4 μm, while they are about 364.4 and 287.0 μm at the two ends of expanding channel, respectively. R141b was used as the working fluid with the volumetric filling ratio of 50%. Inside these two micro-devices, the fluid oscillating motion, including unidirectional movement and intermittent stopovers, was observed at the quasi-steady oscillation state, accompanied by bubbly flow, slug flow and annular/semi-annular flow in microchannels. The micro-OHP with expanding channels possessed better thermal performance and could achieve ephemeral circulation flow, while poorer heat transfer performance occurred for the micro-OHP with straight channels due to more localized slug/plug oscillations and intermittent stopovers. The oscillating amplitudes of liquid slugs are presented to estimate the flow behavior of working fluid inside micro-OHPs. The introduction of expanding channels in a micro-OHP is beneficial for realizing the more robust oscillating motion of liquid slugs with larger oscillating amplitudes for heat transfer enhancement.

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