Description: This report summarizes the results of a computer model that describes the behavior of pulsating heat pipes (PHP). The purpose of the project was to develop a highly efficient (as compared to the heat transfer capability of solid copper) thermal groundplane (TGP) using silicon carbide (SiC) as the substrate material and water as the working fluid. The objective of this project is to develop a multi-physics model for this complex phenomenon to assist with an understanding of how PHPs operate and to be able to understand how various parameters (geometry, fill ratio, materials, working fluid, etc.) affect its performance. The physical processes describing a PHP are highly coupled. Understanding its operation is further complicated by the non-equilibrium nature of the interplay between evaporation/condensation, bubble growth and collapse or coalescence, and the coupled response of the multiphase fluid dynamics among the different channels. A comprehensive theory of operation and design tools for PHPs is still an unrealized task. In the following we first analyze, in some detail, a simple model that has been proposed to describe PHP behavior. Although it includes fundamental features of a PHP, it also makes some assumptions to keep the model tractable. In an effort to improve on current modeling practice, we constructed a model for a PHP using some unique features available in FLOW-3D, version 9.2-3 (Flow Science, 2007). We believe that this flow modeling software retains more of the salient features of a PHP and thus, provides a closer representation of its behavior.
Date: August 1, 2009
Creator: Givler, Richard C. & Martinez, Mario J.
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