Research Papers: Heat Exchangers

Experimental Investigation of a Flat-Plate Closed-Loop Pulsating Heat Pipe

[+] Author and Article Information
Wessel W. Wits

Thales Netherlands,
P.O. Box 42,
Hengelo, 7550 GD, The Netherlands;
Netherlands Aerospace Centre (NLR),
P.O. Box 153,
Emmeloord, 8300 AD, The Netherlands;
Faculty of Engineering Technology,
University of Twente,
P.O. Box 217,
Enschede, 7500 AE, The Netherlands
e-mail: Wessel.Wits@nl.thalesgroup.com

Gerben Groeneveld

Faculty of Engineering Technology,
University of Twente,
P.O. Box 217,
Enschede, 7500 AE, The Netherlands

Henk Jan van Gerner

Netherlands Aerospace Centre (NLR),
P.O. Box 153,
Emmeloord, 8300 AD, The Netherlands

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Heat Transfer Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF HEAT TRANSFER. Manuscript received September 11, 2018; final manuscript received December 17, 2018; published online July 22, 2019. Assoc. Editor: Fabio Bozzoli.

J. Heat Transfer 141(9), 091807 (Jul 22, 2019) (9 pages) Paper No: HT-18-1590; doi: 10.1115/1.4042367 History: Received September 11, 2018; Revised December 17, 2018

The thermal performance and operating modi of a flat-plate closed-loop pulsating heat pipe (PHP) are experimentally observed. The PHP is manufactured through computer numerical controlled milling and vacuum brazing of stainless steel 316 L. Next to a plain closed-loop PHP, also one that promotes fluid circulation through passive Tesla-type valves was developed. Each channel has a 2 × 2 mm2 square cross section, and in total, 12 parallel channels fit within the 50 × 200 mm2 effective area. During the experimental investigation, the power input was increased from 20 W to 100 W, while cooling was performed using a thermo-electric cooler (TEC) and thermostat bath. Three working fluids were assessed: water, methanol, and ammonia. The PHP was charged with a 40% filling ratio. Thermal resistances were obtained for different inclination angles. It was observed that the PHP operates well in vertical evaporator-down orientation but not horizontally. Moreover, experiments show that the minimum operating orientation is between 15 and 30 deg. Two operating modi are observed, namely, the thermosyphon modus, without excessive fluctuations, and the pulsating modus, in which both the temperature and pressure responses oscillate frequently and violently. Overall thermal resistances were determined as low as 0.15 K/W (ammonia) up to 0.28 and 0.48 K/W (water and methanol, respectively) at a power input of 100 W in the vertical evaporator-down orientation. Infrared thermography was used to visualize the working fluid behavior within the PHPs. Infrared observations correlated well with temperature and pressure measurements. The experimental results demonstrated that the developed flat-plate PHP design, suitable for high-volume production, is a promising candidate for electronics cooling applications.

Copyright © 2019 by ASME
Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.


Yang, H. , Khandekar, S. , and Groll, M. , 2009, “ Performance Characteristics of Pulsating Heat Pipes as Integral Thermal Spreaders,” Int. J. Therm. Sci., 48(4), pp. 815–824. [CrossRef]
Ma, H. , 2016, Oscillating Heat Pipes, Springer, New York.
Akachi, H. , 1990, “ Structure of a Heat Pipe,” U.S. Patent No. US4921041A.
Akachi, H. , Polášek, F. , and Štulc, P. , 1996, “ Pulsating Heat Pipes,” Fifth International Heat Pipe Symposium (IHPS), Melbourne, Australia, Nov. 17–20, pp. 208–217.
Khandekar, S. , Gautam, A. P. , and Sharma, P. K. , 2009, “ Multiple Quasi-Steady States in a Closed Loop Pulsating Heat Pipe,” Int. J. Therm. Sci., 48(3), pp. 535–546. [CrossRef]
Han, X. , Wang, X. , Zheng, H. , Xu, X. , and Chen, G. , 2016, “ Review of the Development of Pulsating Heat Pipe for Heat Dissipation,” Renewable Sustainable Energy Rev., 59, pp. 692–709. [CrossRef]
Dobson, R. T. , 2005, “ An Open Oscillatory Heat Pipe Water Pump,” Appl. Therm. Eng., 25(4), pp. 603–621. [CrossRef]
Zwier, M. P. , Van Gerner, H. J. , and Wits, W. W. , 2017, “ Modelling and Experimental Investigation of a Thermally Driven Self-Oscillating Pump,” Appl. Therm. Eng., 126, pp. 1126–1133. [CrossRef]
Zhang, Y. , and Faghri, A. , 2008, “ Advances and Unsolved Issues in Pulsating Heat Pipes,” Heat Transfer Eng., 29(1), pp. 20–44. [CrossRef]
Kearney, D. J. , Suleman, O. , Griffin, J. , and Mavrakis, G. , 2016, “ Thermal Performance of a PCB Embedded Pulsating Heat Pipe for Power Electronics Applications,” Appl. Therm. Eng., 98, pp. 798–809. [CrossRef]
Khandekar, S. , 2003, “ Thermofluid Dynamic Study of Flat-Plate Closed-Loop Pulsating Heat Pipes,” Microscale Thermophysical Eng., 6(4), pp. 303–317. [CrossRef]
Charoensawan, P. , and Terdtoon, P. , 2008, “ Thermal Performance of Horizontal Closed-Loop Oscillating Heat Pipes,” Appl. Therm. Eng., 28(5–6), pp. 460–466. [CrossRef]
Gi, K. , Maezawa, S. , Kojima, Y. , and Yamazaki, N. , 1999, “ CPU Cooling of Notebook PC by Oscillating Heat Pipe,” 11th International Heat Pipe Conference, Tokyo, Japan, Sept. 12–16, pp. 166–169.
Van Gerner, H. J. , Van Benthem, R. C. , Van Es, J. , Schwaller, D. , and Lapensée, S. , 2014, “ Fluid Selection for Space Thermal Control Systems,” 44th International Conference on Environmental Systems (ICES), Tucson, AZ, July 13–17, Paper No. ICES-2014-136.
Khandekar, S. , Charoensawan, P. , Groll, M. , and Terdtoon, P. , 2003, “ Closed Loop Pulsating Heat Pipes—Part B: Visualization and Semi-Empirical Modeling,” Appl. Therm. Eng., 23(16), pp. 2021–2033. [CrossRef]
Van Es, J. , Bsibsi, M. , Van Donk, G. , and Pauw, A. , 2007, “ Investigation on OHP Operational Criteria and Criteria to Use the OHP as Heat Switch,” 14th International Heat Pipe Conference (IHPC), Florianópolis, Brazil, Apr. 22–27, pp. 286–291.
Taft, B. S. , Williams, A. D. , and Drolen, B. L. , 2012, “ Review of Pulsating Heat Pipe Working Fluid Selection,” J. Thermophys. Heat Transfer, 26(4), pp. 651–656. [CrossRef]
Thompson, S. M. , Ma, H. B. , and Wilson, C. , 2011, “ Investigation of a Flat-Plate Oscillating Heat Pipe With Tesla-Type Check Valves,” Exp. Therm. Fluid Sci., 35(7), pp. 1265–1273. [CrossRef]
De Vries, S. F. , Florea, D. , Homburg, F. G. A. , and Frijns, A. J. H. , 2017, “ Design and Operation of a Tesla-Type Valve for Pulsating Heat Pipes,” Int. J. Heat Mass Transfer, 105, pp. 1–11. [CrossRef]
Groeneveld, G. , Gerner, H.-J. V. , and Wits, W. W. , 2017, “ An Experimental Study Towards the Practical Application of Closed-Loop Flat-Plate Pulsating Heat Pipes,” 23rd International Workshop on Thermal Investigations of ICs and Systems (THERMINIC), Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Sept. 27–29, pp. 1–6.
Touloukian, Y. S. , Powell, R. W. , Ho, C. Y. , and Klemens, P. G. , 1971, Thermophysical Properties of Matter—The TPRC Data Series (Thermal Conductivity—Nonmetallic Solids), Vol. 2, Thermophysical and Electronic Properties Information Center, Purdue University, Lafayette, IN.


Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

General design and working principle of PHPs [5]. Reproduced from Khandekar, S., Gautam, A.P., and Sharma, P.K., “Multiple Quasi-Steady States in a Closed Loop Pulsating Heat Pipe,” International Journal of Thermal Science, 48(3): 535–546. Copyright @ 2009 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Figure of merit for PHP working fluid selection; (a) according to Khandekar et al. [15] and (b) according to Van Es et al. [16]

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

X-ray images of manufactured flat-plate PHPs; traditional (top) and with Tesla-type valves (bottom)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

CAD model of PHP experimental setup

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Thermocouple and pressure sensor locations

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

Encapsulated measurement setup

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 7

Overall thermal resistances in vertical bottom-heating configuration for three working fluids with and without Tesla-type valves

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 8

Individual thermal resistance contribution of the evaporator (left) and condenser (right) sections in the vertical bottom-heating configuration

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 9

Effective thermal conductivity in the vertical bottom-heating configuration for three working fluids with and without Tesla-type valves

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 10

Time evolution of the average evaporator temperature for ammonia (A), methanol (M), and water (W) as the working fluid in vertical bottom-heating configuration

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 11

Time evolution of the measured and saturation pressure for water as the working fluid in the vertical bottom-heating configuration

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 12

Infrared thermography during the vertical operation for the three working fluids including Tesla-type valve; (a) methanol, (b) water, (c) ammonia, and (d) infrared measurement setup

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 13

Time evolution of infrared thermal recordings of a water-charged PHP with the Tesla-type valve in the vertical orientation during start-up at 100 W power input



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