Technical Brief

Solid-Liquid Hybrid Thermal Interfaces for Low-Contact Pressure Thermal Switching

[+] Author and Article Information
Y. Jia

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering,
University of California,
420 Westwood Plaza,
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Y. S. Ju

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering,
University of California,
420 Westwood Plaza,
Los Angeles, CA 90095
e-mail: just@seas.ucla.edu

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Heat Transfer Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF HEAT TRANSFER. Manuscript received September 9, 2013; final manuscript received March 3, 2014; published online April 8, 2014. Assoc. Editor: Robert D. Tzou.

J. Heat Transfer 136(7), 074503 (Apr 08, 2014) (4 pages) Paper No: HT-13-1464; doi: 10.1115/1.4027205 History: Received September 09, 2013; Revised March 03, 2014

Switchable thermal interfaces allow controlled modulation of thermal conductance and are a key enabler of microdevices and systems that require reconfigurable heat transfer paths. We report a solid-liquid hybrid thermal interface for reliable low-contact pressure (<1 kPa) switching with on-state thermal contact resistance <15 × 10−6 m2K/W. Reduction in the thermal resistance of hybrid interfaces created through electroplating was evaluated using transient pulsed heating measurements and thermal time constant characterization. Compared with pure liquid-mediated interfaces and direct solid-solid contacts reported previously, the hybrid interface shows superior thermal performance under the same loading pressure while avoiding the use of liquid metals. The hybrid interface may be readily used with low-power electrostatic or Lorenz force-based actuators as part of integrated thermal microdevices.

Copyright © 2014 by ASME
Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.


Song, W.-B., Sutton, M. S., and Talghader, J. J., 2002, “Thermal Contact Conductance of Actuated Interfaces,” Appl. Phys. Lett., 81(7), pp. 1216–1218. [CrossRef]
Cho, J., Richards, C., Bahr, D., Jiao, J., and Richards, R., 2008, “Evaluation of Contacts for a MEMS Thermal Switch,” J. Micromech. Microeng., 18(10), p. 105012. [CrossRef]
Ghoshal, U., Ghoshal, S., McDowell, C., Shi, L., Cordes, S., and Farinelli, M., 2002, “Enhanced Thermoelectric Cooling at Cold Junction Interfaces,” Appl. Phys. Lett., 80(16), pp. 3006–3008. [CrossRef]
Biter, W., Oh, S., and Hess, S., 2002, “Electrostatic Switched Radiator for Space Based Thermal Control,” AIP Conf. Proc., 608(1), pp. 73–80.
Cha, G., and Ju, Y. S., 2013, “Pyroelectric Energy Harvesting Using Liquid-Based Switchable Thermal Interfaces,” Sens. Actuators Phys., 89, pp. 100–107. [CrossRef]
Jia, Y., and Ju, Y. S., 2012, “A Solid-State Refrigerator Based on the Electrocaloric Effect,” Appl. Phys. Lett., 100(24), p. 242901. [CrossRef]
Cha, G., and Ju, Y. S., 2009, “Reversible Thermal Interfaces Based on Microscale Dielectric Liquid Layers,” Appl. Phys. Lett., 94, p. 211904. [CrossRef]
Jia, Y., Cha, G., and Ju, Y. S., 2012, “Switchable Thermal Interfaces Based on Discrete Liquid Droplets,” Micromachines, 3(1), pp. 10–20. [CrossRef]
Xu, J., and Fisher, T. S., 2006, “Enhancement of Thermal Interface Materials With Carbon Nanotube Arrays,” Int. J. Heat Mass Transfer, 49(9–10), pp. 1658–1666. [CrossRef]
Zhao, Y., Tong, T., Delzeit, L., Kashani, A., Meyyappan, M., and Majumdar, A., 2006, “Interfacial Energy and Strength of Multiwalled-Carbon-Nanotube-Based Dry Adhesive,” J. Vac. Sci. Technol., B: Microelectron. Nanometer Struct.–Process., Meas., Phenom., 24(1), pp. 331–335. [CrossRef]
Nam, Y., Sharratt, S., Byon, C., Kim, S. J., and Ju, Y. S., 2010, “Fabrication and Characterization of the Capillary Performance of Superhydrophilic Cu Micropost Arrays,” J. Microelectromech. Syst., 19(3), pp. 581–588. [CrossRef]
Bulgrin, K. E., Ju, Y. S., Carman, G. P., and Lavine, A. S., 2011, “An Investigation of a Tunable Magnetomechanical Thermal Switch,” ASME J. Heat Transfer, 133(10), p. 101401. [CrossRef]


Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Solid-liquid hybrid interface: (a) off-state, (b) on-state, (c) top view of the mask pattern, and (d) side view of the droplet after being deposited in the circular hydrophilic region incorporating microposts

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

SEM of Cu microposts fabricated using the electrodeposition technique

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

(a) Experimental setup for the thermal resistance characterization and (b) example temperature profiles obtained from measurements and FEM simulations

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Experimentally determined thermal resistance of the hybrid interface as a function of the liquid layer and hence the interface thickness

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Normalized temporal temperature profiles of the actuation plate in contact with the hot reservoir through the three different interfaces




Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging and repositioning the boxes below.

Related Journal Articles
Related eBook Content
Topic Collections

Sorry! You do not have access to this content. For assistance or to subscribe, please contact us:

  • TELEPHONE: 1-800-843-2763 (Toll-free in the USA)
  • EMAIL: asmedigitalcollection@asme.org
Sign In