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heat pipe

Introduction All electronic components, from microprocessors to high end power converters, generate heat and rejection of this heat is necessary for their optimum and reliable operation. As electronic design allows higher throughput in smaller packages, dissipating the heat load becomes a critical design factor. Many of today’s electronic devices require cooling beyond the capability of standard metallic heat sinks. The heat pipe is meeting this need and is rapidly becoming a main stream thermal management tool. Aheat pipe is a simple device that can quickly transfer heat from one point to another without the need of energy input. Heat pipes are often referred to as the "superconductors" of heat as they possess an extraordinary heat transfer capacity with almost no loss.Heat pipe is able to transfer heat thousands of times
1 g.p.thane

“Within certain limitations on the manner of use. a heat pipe may be regarded as a synergistic engineering structure which is equivalent to a material having a thermal conductivity greatly exceeding that of any known metal”. OAO. However. Therefore. the technology of that period presented no clear need for such a device and it lay dormant for two decades. The concept of Variable Conductance or Temperature Controlled Heat Pipe was first described by Hall of RCA in a patent application dated October 1964. 2 g. This first successful flight experiment overcame the initial hesitation that many spacecraft designers had for using this new technology to solve the ever – present temperature control problems on spacecraft. The first heat pipe that Grover built used water as the working fluid and was followed shortly by a liquid sodium heat pipe for operation at 1100 °K. Some examples of this trend were the ARS – E. heat pipes were limited to mostly scientific and exotic applications such as those uses in the space industry. ATS F&G spacecrafts. Grover also coined the name “heat pipe” and stated. first as a suggestion by Trefethen /2/ in 1962 and then form a patent application by Wyatt in 1963. although the effect of a no condensing gas was shown in Grover’s original publication. 1967. notably by Bienert and Brennan at Dynatherm /4/ and Marcus at TRW /5/.thane . the first “zero g” demonstration of a heat pipe was conducted by a group of engineers of the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory. It was until 1966 that the first cryogenic heat pipe was developed by Haskin of the Air Force Flight Dynamic Laboratory at Wright – Patterson Air Force Base. The idea was resurrected in connection with the space program. and the Sky Lab. Gaugler /1/ patented a lightweight heat transfer device which was essentially the present heat pipe. On April 5. Both the high temperature and ambient temperature regimes were soon explored by many workers in the field. more and more spacecrafts have relied on heat pipes either to control the temperature of individual components or of the entire structure. its significance for achieving variable conductance was not immediately recognized.[Type text] [Type text] heat pipe faster than a solid copper rod. It was not until Grover and his co-workers /3/ of the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory rediscovered the concept in late 1963 and built prototypes that the impetus was provided to this technology. History In 1944.p. Subsequently. However. In subsequent years the theory and technology of Variable Conductance Heat Pipes was greatly advanced. but it was considered too expensive for commercial uses due to its complex wick construction.

This probably represented the first commercial application of heat pipes. In the meantime.[Type text] [Type text] heat pipe the development of terrestrial applications of heat pipes progressed at a much slower pace. Principles of Operation A heat pipe is a hermetically sealed evacuated tube normally containing a mesh or sintered powder wick and a working fluid in both the liquid and vapor phase.thane . many other applications have firmly established that heat pipes can solve many critical problems in heat transfer and temperature control. The hot vapor flows to the colder end of the tube where it condenses and gives out the latent heat. Since the latent heat of evaporation is usually very large. considerable quantities of heat can be transported with a very small temperature 3 g. When one end of the tube is heated the liquid turns to vapor absorbing the latent heat of vaporization.p. In 1968. The recondensed liquid then flows back through the wick to the hot end of the tube. RCA developed a heat pipe heat sink for transistors used in aircraft transmitters.

269 ºC to in excess of 2300 ºC. By suitable choice of working fluid and container materials it is possible to manufacture heat pipes for use at temperatures ranging from . It is not restricted to a fixed operating temperature but adjusts its temperature according to the heat load and the sink condition. A heat pipe using lithium as the working fluid at a temperature of 1500 ºC will carry an axial heat flux of 10 . Therefore. The amount of heat that can be transported as latent heat of vaporization is usually several orders of magnitude larger than can be transported as sensible heat in a conventional convective system with an equivalent temperature difference. The performance of a heat pipe is often expressed in terms of equivalent thermal conductivity. the boiling – condensing cycle is essentially an isothermal process Furthermore. therefore. the heat pipe can be made a device of variable thermal conductance. The vapor pressure drop between the evaporator and the condenser is very small. The conventional heat pipe is a completely passive device. The theory of variable conductance heat pipes is outlined.These ranges have been defined somewhat arbitrarily such that the currently known working fluids are generally the 4 g. the operating temperature ranges of heat pipes are referred to as “Cryogenic” (0 to 150 °K).[Type text] [Type text] heat pipe difference from one end to the other. the temperature losses between the heat source and the vapor and Furthermore. nevertheless. a nearly constant parameter.thane . the temperature losses between the heat source and the vapor and between the vapor and the heat sink can be made small by proper design. The huge effective thermal conductivity of the heat pipes can be illustrated by the following examples. Therefore. Its thermal conductance is very high but.20 kW/cm2.p. There are some means of achieving variable conductance but they are not discussed in this material. Operating Ranges In this material. and. Types Heat pipes are classified into two general types: “Conventional” and “Variable Conductance”. a second feature of the heat pipe is that relatively large amounts of heat can be transported with small lightweight structures. A tubular heat pipe using water as the working fluid and operated at 150 ºC would have a thermal conductivity several hundred times that of a copper bar of the same dimensions. With minor modifications. “Low Temperature” (150 to 750 °K) and “High Temperature” (750 to 3000 °K). one feature of the heat pipe is that it can be designed to transport heat between the heat source and the heat sink with very small temperature losses.

mainly polar molecules or halocarbons in the low temperature range. Also are indicated the limits of the three regimes as defined above.p. the design issues are reduced to two major considerations by limiting the selection to copper/water heat pipes for cooling electronics. thermal resistances. The limits of the ranges should only be considered as approximate since some of the fluids overlap into the next temperature range. These 5 g.. Approximate range of applicability of some working fluids in the various temperature regimes Heat Pipe DesignThere are many factors to consider when designing a heat pipe: compatibility of materials. and liquid metals in the high temperature range. and operating orientation.[Type text] [Type text] heat pipe same type within each range. The approximate useful range of some working fluids is indicated in Figure 2. power limitations. However. Working fluids are usually elemental or simple organic gases in the cryogenic range. diameter. and each range is roughly four times as large as the preceding one. operating temperature range. Figure 2.thane .

These heat transport limits.p. and boiling. sonic. however. include: viscous. entrainment or flooding. which are a function of the heat pipe operating temperature. entrainment or flooding. Therefore. There are five primary heat pipe heat transport limitations. Figures 2 and 3 show graphs of the axial heat transport limits as function of operating temperature for typical powder metal and screen wicked heat pipes. Each heat transport Table 1: Heat pipe heat transport limitations Viscous Viscous forces prevent vapor flow in the heat pipe Heat pipe operating below recommended operating temperature Increase heat pipe operating temperature or find alternative working fluid High velocity vapor Heat pipe operating Increase vapor flow prevents above designed power space diameter or Entrainment/Flooding condensate from input or at too low an operating returning to operating temperature temperature evaporator Capillary Sum of 6 Heat pipe input power Modify heat pipe g. Limits to Heat Transport The most important heat pipe design consideration is the amount of power the heat pipe is capable of transferring. If driven beyond its capacity. capillary pumping.thane . Figures 2 and 3 show graphs of the axial heat transport limits as function of operating temperature for typical powder metal and screen wicked heat pipes. sonic. Heat pipes can transfer much higher powers for a given temperature gradient than even the best metallic conductors. These heat transport limits. heat transport limitations. and boiling. The maximum heat transport capability of the heat pipe is governed by several limiting factors which must be addressed when designing a heat pipe. depending on the application. include: viscous. Heat pipes can be designed to carry a few watts or several kilowatts. the effective thermal conductivity of the heat pipe will be significantly reduced. which are a function of the heat pipe operating temperature. it is important to assure that the heat pipe is designed to safely transport the required heat load. capillary pumping. These two major heat pipe design criteria are discussed below. Each heat transport limitation is summarized in Table 1.[Type text] [Type text] heat pipe considerations are the amount of power the heat pipe is capable of carrying and its effective thermal resistance.

p. liquid and vapor flow pressure drops exceeds the design wick structure exceed the capillary heat transport capacity design or reduce pumping head of of the heat pipe power input the heat pipe wick structure Film boiling in heat pipe evaporator High radial heat flux Use a wick with a typically initiates causes film boiling higher heat flux at5-10 W/cm2 for resulting in heat pipe capacity or spread screen wicks and dry out and large out the heat load 20-30 W/cm2 for thermal resistances powder metal wicks Vapor flow reaches This is typically sonic velocity when only a problem at exiting heat pipe start-up. The heat evaporator Power/temperature pipe will carry a resulting in a combination.thane . too much set power and the constant heat pipe power at low operating large ^T will self transport power temperature correct as the and large heat pipe warms temperature up gradients Boiling Sonic 7 g.[Type text] [Type text] heat pipe gravitational.

wick structure.[Type text] [Type text] heat pipe Figure 2: Predicted heat pipe limitations As shown in Figures 2 and 3. the capillary limit is usually the limiting factor in a heat pipe design.p. such as heat pipe geometry. evaporator length. As the heat pipe is a two-phase heat transfer device. 8 g. The effective thermal resistances not constant but a function of a large number of variables.and working fluid. condenser length. a constant effective thermal resistance value cannot be assigned.thane . Effective Heat Pipe Thermal Resistance The other primary heat pipe design consideration is the effective heat pipe thermal resistance or overall heat pipe at a given design power.

condensation. conduction through the wick.p. and conduction losses back through the condenser section wick and wall. evaporation or boiling. axial vapor flow.[Type text] [Type text] heat pipe Figure 5: Wick structures The total thermal resistance of a heat pipe is the sum of the resistances due to conduction through the wall.thane . The detailed thermal analysis of heat pipes is rather complex. A rough guide for a copper/water heat pipe with a powder 9 g. however. Figure 6 shows a power versus curve for a typical copper/water heat pipe. a few rules of thumb that can be used for first pass design considerations. There are.

p.8 W/cm2 * 0. the wick or capillary structure Container The function of the container is to isolate the working fluid from the outside environment. It has to therefore be leak-proof. Assume the heat pipe is dissipating 75 watts with a 5 cm evaporator and a 5 cm condenser length. The evaporator and condenser resistances are based on the outer surface area of the heat pipe. to calculate the effective thermal resistance for a 1. The axial heat flux equals the power divided by the cross sectional area of the vapor space (q=Q/Avapor.5 W/cm2).02°C/W/cm2 + 3.8 W/cm2* 0. the working fluid 3. These are as follows: • • • • • • Compatibility (both with working fluid and external environment) Strength to weight ratio Thermal conductivity Ease of fabrication. q = 95. the following assumptions are made.5 W/cm2 * 0.27 cm diameter copper/water heat pipe 30. q= 3.[Type text] [Type text] heat pipe metal wick structure is to use 0.4°C ConstructionThe three basic components of a heat pipe are: 1. maintain the pressure differential across its walls. The evaporator heat flux (q) equals the power divided by the heat input area (q = Q/Aevap.thane .2°C/W/cm2 for thermal resistance at the evaporator and condenser. Selection of the container material depends on many factors. and enable transfer of heat to take place from and into the working fluid.2°C/W/cm2 + 95.8 W/cm2).5 cm long with a 1 cm diameter vapor space. T = qevap* Revap + qaxial * Raxial + qcond* Rcond T = 3. This design guide is only useful for powersat or below the design power for the given heat pipe. For example. machineability and ductility Porosity Wettability 10 g. including welding.2°C/W/cm2 T = 3. The temperature gradient equals the heat flux times the thermal resistance. and 0. the container 2. The axial resistance is based on the cross-sectional area of the vapor space.02°C/W/cm2 for axial resistance.

PRESSURE (° C) USEFUL RANGE (° C) 11 g. which tend to setup large temperature gradient and cause flow instabilities. Within the approximate temperature band. Working fluid A first consideration in the identification of a suitable working fluid is the operating vapour temperature range. AT ATM. contact angle should be zero or very small. A high strength to weight ratio is more important in spacecraft applications. Tabulated below are a few mediums with their useful ranges of temperature. In heat pipe design. (° C ) BOILING PT. several possible working fluids may exist. entrainment and nucleate boiling levels. A high thermal conductivity ensures minimum temperature drop between the heat source and the wick. sonic. capillary. a high value of surface tension is desirable in order to enable the heat pipe to operate against gravity and to generate a high capillary driving force.[Type text] [Type text] heat pipe Most of the above are self-explanatory. and hence to maintain low pressure drops within the heat pipe.thane . The material should be non-porous to prevent the diffusion of vapor. In addition to high surface tension. viscous. and a variety of characteristics must be examined in order to determine the most acceptable of these fluids for the application considered. The vapor pressure over the operating temperature range must be sufficiently great to avoid high vapor velocities.p. MEDIUM MELTING PT. it is necessary for the working fluid to wet the wick and the container material i. The resistance to fluid flow will be minimized by choosing fluids with low values of vapor and liquid viscosities. The prime requirements are: • • • • • • • • • compatibility with wick and wall materials good thermal stability wettability of wick and wall materials vapor pressure not too high or low over the operating temperature range high latent heat high thermal conductivity low liquid and vapor viscosities high surface tension acceptable freezing or pour point The selection of the working fluid must also be based on thermodynamic considerations which are concerned with the various various limitations to heat flow occurring within the heat pipe like. The thermal conductivity of the working fluid should preferably be high in order to minimize the radial temperature gradient and to reduce the possibility of nucleate boiling at the wick or wall surface. A high latent heat of vaporization is desirable in order to transfer large amounts of heat with minimum fluid flow.e.

98 . They generally have smaller pores. nickel or copper in various ranges of pore sizes.39 98 179 960 . The prime purpose of the wick is to generate capillary pressure to transport the working fluid from the condenser to the evaporator. the liquid picks up the latent heat of vaporization. .210 . and more particularly felts. the latter being more frequently used. When that happens.271 . have high capillary pressures and are chemically stable.95 . several of which are closely linked to the properties of the working fluid. Other necessary properties of the wick are compatibility with the working fluid and wettability. The main disadvantage of ceramic fibres is that. wetting all internal surfaces.p. that enters the pores of the capillary material. By varying the pressure on the felt during assembly. Carbon fibre filaments have many fine longitudinal grooves on their surface. which must be optimized. Thus while the fibre itself may be chemically compatible with the working fluids. like ceramics. More recently. they have little stiffness and usually require a continuos support by a metal mesh. The selection of the wick for a heat pipe depends on many factors. They are fabricated using metal foams. The wick permeability increases with increasing pore size.95 . A number of heat pipes that have been successfully constructed using carbon fibre wicks seem to show a greater heat transport capability. The overall thermal resistance at the evaporator also depends on the conductivity of the working fluid in the wick. have also been used widely. The heat transport capability of the heat pipe is raised by increasing the wick thickness.261 .50 .112 0 . By incorporating removable metal mandrels. an arterial structure can also be molded in the felt. which then has a higher pressure. The maximum capillary head generated by a wick increases with decrease in pore size.78 . moves inside 12 g. alumunium.[Type text] [Type text] heat pipe Helium Nitrogen Ammonia Acetone Methanol Flutec PP2 Ethanol Water Toluene Mercury Sodium Lithium Silver Wick or Capillary Structure . Applying heat at any point along the surface of the heat pipe causes the liquid at that point to boil and enter a vapor state.33 57 64 76 78 100 110 361 892 1340 2212 -271 to -269 -203 to -160 -60 to 100 0 to 120 10 to 130 10 to 160 0 to 130 30 to 200 50 to 200 250 to 650 600 to 1200 1000 to 1800 1800 to 2300 It is a porous structure made of materials like steel. The gas. the supporting materials may cause problems. Fibrous materials. It must also be able to distribute the liquid around the evaporator section to any area where heat is likely to be received by the heat pipe.196 . interest has turned to carbon fibres as a wick material. various pore sizes can be produced. Often these two functions require wicks of different forms. Another feature of the wick. is its thickness.thane . Working Inside the container is a liquid under its own pressure.

Heat pipes are one solution to removing damaging heat For most air-cooled applications. It is the energy moving axially along the pipe. However. wet or explosive environments. The heat transfer or transport capacity of a heat pipe is specified by its " Axial Power Rating (APC)". the gas gives up the latent heat of vaporization and moves heat from the input to the output end of the heat pipe. dirty. Sealed enclosures are employed when the electronics they contain must not be exposed to a dusty. dirt or moisture. Thus. Heat pipes can be built in almost any size and shape. 13 g. Heat pipes have an effective thermal conductivity many thousands of times that of copper. Similarly. longer the heat pipe lesser is the APR.p. The larger the heat pipe diameter.[Type text] [Type text] heat pipe the sealed container to a colder location where it condenses.thane . greater is the APR. APPLICATIONS 1)HEAT PIPE HEAT EXCHANGER When electronics enclosures must be sealed to keep out dust. fresh air passes through the enclosure or box in which the electronics are housed. there are times when available air is not suitable for electronics cooling. heat is trapped inside during operation.

The heat pipes pass through the flange and are sealed to the flange with either grommets or brazed material. The vapor transports heat to the other end of the pipe. A heat pipe is a two-phase heat transfer device with highly effective thermal conductivity. Cool ambient air passes over the outer fins to reject the heat to the environment. The warmed inner fins transfer the heat to the heat pipes. The use of a flange and a closed-cell gasket prevents the introduction of contaminated exterior air into the sealed enclosure. These exchangers can be made to maintain an enclosure’s NEMA 4 or NEMA 12 rating. Fins attach to the heat pipes on both sides of the flange. A heat pipe’s operation is passive.p. 2. 14 g. To pass the UL 94 V0 flammability specification required for many applications.thane . This continuous cycle transfers large quantities of heat with very low thermal gradients. being driven only by the heat that is transferred.[Type text] [Type text] heat pipe Heat-pipe heat exchangers are one type of air-to-air heat exchangers used to cool electronics packaged in a sealed enclosure (figure 1). releasing the heat to the outer cooling fins. Heat pipes used in heat exchangers usually are cylindrical copper tubes with internal grooves as the wick structure (figure 2). the gasket often is made from silicone. The heat pipes transfer the heat through the divider flange to the fins outside the cabinet. The hot air inside the cabinet passes over and warms the fins inside the enclosure. The heat pipe is evacuated and back-filled with a small amount of working fluid such as methanol to prevent freezing and thawing. allowing heat removal in the following manner: 1. which results in high reliability and long life. 3. 4. Heat absorbed through the hot inner fins on one end of the heat pipe vaporizes the working fluid. where the vapor condenses.

the need of regular maintenance is reduced 15 g. Gravity assisted heatpipe could be used in flat plate solar collectors. which enables the unit to respond quickly to changes in solar radiation intensity.p.thane .[Type text] [Type text] heat pipe 2 ) H e a t pipe in solar water heating-. A compact integral heat exchanger minimises the total water contact of the collector.

4)www.cooling water and lubrication.gavhane.by K.A.input power. No need for mechanical maintenance.  Small.google. DISADVANTAGES  ONE MAJOR PROBLEM: A heat pipe designed for a certain temperature range will only work well in this range.[Type text] [Type text] heat pipe Tubular Heat Pipe with evacuated glasstube fitted into reflector could give high temperature absorption of solar radiation ADVANTAGES  It is light weight (generally less than 40 grams).A Gavhane 3)Plant utility.p. Vasiliev. Hardcover (June 1993) 2)Heat transfer operation by K.thane .com 16 g.L. designing a universal heat pipe for all temperature ranges is not possible. References1 1)Heat Pipe Technology : Materials and Applications by L.

thane .p.[Type text] [Type text] heat pipe Conclusion- 17 g.

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