Technical Brief

High-Flux Thermal Management With Supercritical Fluids

[+] Author and Article Information
Brian M. Fronk

School of Mechanical,
Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering,
Oregon State University,
204 Rogers Hall,
Corvallis, OR 97331
e-mail: Brian.Fronk@oregonstate.edu

Alexander S. Rattner

Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering,
Pennsylvania State University,
236A Reber Building,
University Park, PA 16802
e-mail: Alex.Rattner@psu.edu

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Heat Transfer Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF HEAT TRANSFER. Manuscript received September 17, 2015; final manuscript received June 24, 2016; published online August 2, 2016. Assoc. Editor: Ali Khounsary.

J. Heat Transfer 138(12), 124501 (Aug 02, 2016) (4 pages) Paper No: HT-15-1603; doi: 10.1115/1.4034053 History: Received September 17, 2015; Revised June 24, 2016

A novel thermal management approach is explored, which uses supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) as a working fluid to manage extreme heat fluxes in electronics cooling applications. In the pseudocritical region, sCO2 has extremely high volumetric thermal capacity, which can enable operation with low pumping requirements, and without the potential for two-phase critical heat flux (CHF) and flow instabilities. A model of a representative microchannel heat sink is evaluated with single-phase liquid water and FC-72, two-phase boiling R-134a, and sCO2. For a fixed pumping power, sCO2 is found to yield lower heat-sink wall temperatures than liquid coolants. Practical engineering challenges for supercritical thermal management systems are discussed, including the limits of predictive heat transfer models, narrow operating temperature ranges, high working pressures, and pump design criteria. Based on these findings, sCO2 is a promising candidate working fluid for cooling high heat flux electronics, but additional thermal transport research and engineering are needed before practical systems can be realized.

Copyright © 2016 by ASME
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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Comparison of sCO2 (P = 8.0 MPa) specific heat with conventional working fluids

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

(a) Representative rendering and operating conditions of a supercritical CO2 high-flux microchannel heat-sink and (b) parallel microchannel geometry

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Comparison of (a) average wall temperature, (b) pressure drop, (c) temperature change, and (d) inlet volumetric flow rate for water, FC-72, supercritical CO2, and two-phase R-134a at a constant pumping power of 0.75 W

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Local wall temperature versus heat-sink position for supercritical CO2 varying pumping power and a constant heat flux (q″ = 300 W cm−2)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

(a) Maximum volumetric thermal capacity (ρcp) of CO2 at varying temperatures and (b) thermal capacity of CO2 and other representative supercritical fluids at varying temperatures compared with water



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