The Interfacial Thermodynamics of Micro Heat Pipes

[+] Author and Article Information
L. W. Swanson

Heat Transfer Research, Inc., 1500 Research Parkway, College Station, TX 77840

G. P. Peterson

Mechanical Engineering Department, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843

J. Heat Transfer 117(1), 195-201 (Feb 01, 1995) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2822303 History: Received June 01, 1993; Revised April 01, 1994; Online December 05, 2007


Successful analysis and modeling of micro heat pipes requires a complete understanding of the vapor–liquid interface. A thermodynamic model of the vapor–liquid interface in micro heat pipes has been formulated that includes axial pressure and temperature differences, changes in local interfacial curvature, Marangoni effects, and the disjoining pressure. Relationships were developed for the interfacial mass flux in an extended meniscus, the heat transfer rate in the intrinsic meniscus, the “thermocapillary” heat-pipe limitation, as well as the nonevaporating superheated liquid film thickness that exists between adjacent menisci and occurs during liquid dry out in the evaporator. These relationships can be used to define quantitative restrictions and/or requirements necessary for proper operation of micro heat pipes. They also provide fundamental insight into the critical mechanisms required for proper heat pipe operation.

Copyright © 1995 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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