A computational model was developed to analyze and optimize the convective heat transfer for water flowing through rectangular microchannels fabricated in a silicon substrate. A baseline case was analyzed by solving the nondimensional governing equations. Using a quasi three-dimensional computational model, the velocity and temperature distributions were obtained and the numerical results were then used to determine the overall dimensionless thermal resistance for the convective heat transfer from the substrate to the fluid. To validate the numerical model, the average Nusselt numbers as determined by the numerical model were compared with experimental results available in the literature, for channels with comparable hydraulic diameters. The procedure for arriving at an optimum geometric configuration and arrangement of microchannels on the substrate, subject to given design constraints, so that the thermal resistance is at a minimum, is described and demonstrated using the computational model.

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