Microchannel heat transfer is commonly applied in the thermal management of high-power electronics. Most designs involve a series of parallel microchannels, which are typically analyzed by assuming a uniform flow distribution. However, many devices have a nonuniform thermal distribution, with hot spots producing much higher heat fluxes and temperatures than the baseline. Although solutions have been developed to improve local heat transfer, these are advanced methods using embedded cooling devices. As an alternative, a passive solution is developed here using analytical methods to optimize the channel geometry for a desired, nonuniform flow distribution. This results in a simple power law for the passage diameter, which may be useful for many microfluidic systems, including electronics cooling devices. Computational simulations are then applied to demonstrate the effectiveness of the power law for laminar conditions. At low Reynolds numbers, the flow distribution can be controlled to good accuracy, matching the desired distribution to within less than 1%. Further simulations consider the control of hot spots in laminar developing flow. Under these circumstances, temperatures can be made uniform to within 2 °C over a range of Reynolds numbers (60 to 300), demonstrating the capability of this power law solution.

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