The design of high-performance heat pipes requires optimization of heat transfer surfaces and liquid and vapor flow channels to suppress the heat transfer operating limits. In the paper an analytical model of the vapor flow in high-temperature heat pipes is presented, showing that the axial heat transport capacity limited by the sonic heat transfer limit depends on the working fluid, vapor flow area, manner of liquid evaporation into the vapor core of the evaporator, and lengths of the evaporator and adiabatic regions. Limited comparisons of the model predictions with data of the sonic heat transfer limits are shown to be very reasonable, giving credibility to the proposed analytical approach to determine the effect of various parameters on the axial heat transport capacity. Large axial heat transfer rates can be achieved with large vapor flow cross-sectional areas, small lengths of evaporator and adiabatic regions or a vapor flow area increase in these regions, and liquid evaporation in the evaporator normal to the main flow.

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