Research Papers: Combustion and Reactive Flows

Advances in Fluid and Thermal Transport Property Analysis and Design of Sintered Porous Wick Microstructures

[+] Author and Article Information
Suresh V. Garimella

e-mail: sureshg@purdue.edu
Cooling Technologies Research Center,
School of Mechanical Engineering and Birck Nanotechnology Center,
Purdue University,
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2088

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received December 7, 2012; final manuscript received January 23, 2013; published online May 16, 2013. Assoc. Editor: Leslie Phinney.

J. Heat Transfer 135(6), 061202 (May 16, 2013) (13 pages) Paper No: HT-12-1653; doi: 10.1115/1.4023569 History: Received December 07, 2012; Revised January 23, 2013

Sintered porous structures are ubiquitous as heat transport media for thermal management and other applications. In particular, low-porosity sintered packed beds are used as capillary-wicking and evaporation-enhancement structures in heat pipes. Accurate prediction and analysis of their transport characteristics for different microstructure geometries is important for improved design. Owing to the random nature and geometric complexity of these materials, development of predictive methods has been the subject of extensive prior research. The present work summarizes and builds upon past studies and recent advances in pore-scale modeling of fluid and thermal transport within such heterogeneous media. A brief review of various analytical and numerical models for simplified prediction of transport characteristics such as effective thermal conductivity, permeability, and interfacial heat transfer is presented. More recently, there has been a growing interest in direct numerical simulation of transport in realistic representations of the porous medium geometry; for example, by employing nondestructive 3D imaging techniques such as X-ray microtomography. Future research directions are identified, looking beyond techniques intended for material characterization alone, and focusing on those targeting the reverse engineering of wick structures via modeling of the physical sintering fabrication processes. This approach may eventually be employed to design intricate sintered porous structures with desired properties tailored to specific applications.

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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Various device, representative elementary volume, and pore length scales shown for a typical vapor chamber heat spreader application

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Evaporative base heat transfer coefficient as a function of contact angle for square-packed pyramidal, cylindrical,and conical pillars of radius and height equal to 100 μm, for (a) constant porosity, ε = 0.78, and (b) constant permeability, K = 1.02 × 10−9 m2

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Schematic illustration of various image processing and mesh generation steps, for typical image-based mesh generation. The demonstrated case corresponds to a sintered copper bed with particles of sizes 250–355 μm.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

(a) Effective thermal conductivity as a function of necking ratio, and (b) comparison with commonly employed analytical models. Also shown are representative conduction contours in (c), along with particles identified by color in (d), for a 250–355 μm sample.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

(a) Comparison of Nusselt number as a function of Reynolds number between microtomography-based computations and the correlation of Wakao and Kaguei [29], developed for spherical particle beds, and (b) representative temperature contours and particle pathlines inside a 250–355 μm sample

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

Typical workflow employed in Ref. [73] for meshing, meniscus shape prediction and subsequent flow, heat transfer, and evaporation analyses

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 7

(a) Prediction of evaporative base heat flux as a function of contact angle, and (b) representative temperature contours and particle pathlines for evaporation colored by temperature for a 250–355 μm particle size sintered powder sample

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 8

(a) Two-particle sintering scenarios depicting sintering of cylindrical wires shown for a copper-water system, along with effective thermal conductivity calculated in the horizontal direction as a function of the extent of sintering, and (b) effective thermal conductivity of a random collection of spheres with near-Gaussian particle size distribution [93], as a function of extent of sintering



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