A combined experimental and analytical investigation was conducted to evaluate a heat pipe convective cooling device consisting of sixteen small copper/water heat pipes mounted vertically in a 4 × 4 array which was 25.4 mm square. The analytical portion of the investigation focused on determination of the maximum heat transport capacity and the resistance of the individual heat pipes. The resistance of each heat pipe was found to be 2.51 K/Watt, or more than 3 times smaller than the resistance produced by a solid copper rod with the same dimensions. The maximum predicted heat rejection for the module was over 50 Watts, or a power density in excess of 7.75 Watts/cm2. In the experimental portion of the investigation, two different modules were tested. The first module utilized ten circular aluminum fins mounted on the condenser end of each heat pipe to enhance heat rejection, while the second contained only the sixteen copper/water heat pipes. The effects of flow velocity, input power, and base plate temperature on the overall thermal resistance and the heat rejection capacity were determined, as well as the pressure drop resulting from each module. The finned heat pipe array was found to have a lower overall thermal resistance and thus, a higher heat rejection capacity, but also resulted in a significantly larger pressure drop than the array without fins. The results of the heat pipe array experiments were also compared with experimental and empirical results obtained from flow over a flat plate 25.4 mm square.

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