Numerical simulations of the flow pattern and forced convective heat transfer in geometries such as those encountered in cooling systems for electronic devices are presented. For Reynolds numbers above the critical one, Rc, these flows exhibit a traveling wave structure with laminar self-sustained oscillations at the least stable Tollmien-Schlichting mode frequency. Supercritical oscillatory flow induces large-scale convective patterns which lead to significant mixing and correspondingly heat transfer augmentation. Three techniques of heat transfer enhancement by flow destabilization are compared on an equal pumping basis: active flow modulation, passive flow modulation and supercritical flow destabilization. It is found that the best enhancement system regarding minimum power dissipation corresponds to passive flow modulation in the range of low Nusselt numbers. However, supercritical flow destabilization becomes competitive as the requirement for a higher Nusselt number begins to dominate the design choices.

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