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.

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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

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Fig. 2

SEM of Cu microposts fabricated using the electrodeposition technique

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Fig. 3

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

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Fig. 4

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

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Fig. 5

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



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