Proceedings of IPACK2009 InterPACK'09 July 19-23, 2009, San Francisco, California, USA

IPACK2009-89173
NOVEL FLUORESCENT VISUALIZATION METHOD TO CHARACTERIZE TRANSPORT PROPERTIES IN MICRO/NANO HEAT PIPE WICK STRUCTURES
Pramod Chamarthy, H. Peter J. de Bock, Boris Russ, Shakti Chauhan, Brian Rush, Stanton E. Weaver, Tao Deng, GE Global Research Niskayuna, NY, USA Kripa Varanasi Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, MA, USA

ABSTRACT Heat pipes have been gaining a lot of popularity in electronics cooling applications due to their ease of operation, reliability, and high effective thermal conductivity. An important component of a heat pipe is the wick structure, which transports the condensate from condenser to evaporator. The design of wick structures is complicated by competing requirements to create high capillary driving forces and maintain high permeability. While generating large pore sizes will help achieve high permeability, it will significantly reduce the wick’s capillary performance. This study presents a novel experimental method to simultaneously measure capillary and permeability characteristics of the wick structures using fluorescent visualization. This technique will be used to study the effects of pore size and gravitational force on the flow-related properties of the wick structures. Initial results are presented on wick samples visually characterized from zero to nine g acceleration on a centrifuge. These results will provide a tool to understand the physics involved in transport through porous structures and help in the design of high performance heat pipes. INTRODUCTION Recently there has been an increasing demand for faster and smaller chips. Since the invention of the microprocessor, the number of transistors per chip has increased by five orders of magnitude [1]. As a result, the heat generated by some high performance chips has already exceeded 100 W/cm2 [2]. The junction temperature of these chips should be maintained below a certain value (typically 125 °C) to ensure reliable operation. With this constraint, considerable effort is being made to

develop cooling technologies with the capability to remove heat from the device while maintaining acceptable component operating temperatures [3,4]. In typical electronics cooling solutions the chip is attached to a heat sink with a thermal interface in between. The thermal interface resistance, spreading resistance, and the convection resistance at the heat sink are the common thermal bottlenecks that need to be minimized to achieve better cooling. The performance of the heat sink can increase by increasing the convective heat transfer coefficient or by increasing the surface area. It is often challenging to increase heat transfer coefficients due to fluid selection or pumping power limitations. Even with a very low convection resistance, the conduction (spreading) resistance can account for a high overall thermal resistance. Several high performance heat sinks have heat pipes embedded in them to facilitate heat transport with very low spreading resistance.
Evaporator Section Transport (adiabatic) Section
liquid vapor liquid

Condenser Section

evaporation

condensation

Heat In

Heat Out

Heat pipe casing

Wicking structure

Vapor channel

Figure 1: Heat pipe configuration

1

Copyright © 2007 by ASME

When heat is added to the system. if the wick has non-uniform pore sizes or imperfections on the surface.13] presented a different method to characterize wicks. as shown in Figure 1. which are formed in the fluid. The height (h) to which the liquid column rises is a balance between the capillary pressure acting at the liquid interface ( ∆Pc ) and the hydrostatic pressure and can be obtained by the equation. the water column height for a 1 µm pore radius will be greater than 10 m. the effective pore radius can be estimated using Eq. Hence. 1 The bubble point test is able to identify the minimum pressure at which the gas leaks through the wick. 1 it can be seen that the height to which the liquid rises is inversely proportional to the pore radius. rc = 2σ cosθ ∆Pc Eq. a visualization-based where. The wick structure is saturated with a working fluid. The theoretical expression for the rise time is given by the Lucas-Washburn [10. t / t ref = − H / H ref − ln(1 − H / H ref ) . the amount of heat that can be transported. it is visible through the bubbles. the resistance to the flow increases. Eq. respectively. Eq. The effective pore size of the wick determines the capillary force available to pump the liquid. 4. which might under-estimate the actual pore size of the wick.6]. the liquid inside the wick evaporates and flows to condenser region. By knowing the pressure at which the gas leaks through the wick. rc is the effective pore radius.Heat pipes are passive devices that utilize two-phase heat transfer to transport heat. As described in the previous section. a smaller pore size can generate the necessary force required to pump against ‘g’ forces. consists of a hollow casing with an internal wick structure and a vapor channel. as the pore size becomes smaller. 2 Copyright © 2007 by ASME . When the gas leaks through the wick. In general. However. and. The rising meniscus method provides a simple and effective way to test the wicks [9]. In this method. 2). The capillary forces in the wick structure act as a pump to transport the liquid to the evaporator region. Hence. h= 2σ cos θ ρgrc Eq. Adkins et al. 4 ∆Pg N rc T ρ σ θ MEASUREMENT METHOD Several techniques have been proposed to study the capillary performance of wick structures [7. Hence. θ is the contact angle. σ is the surface tension of the liquid and ρ is the density. making the method impractical for laboratory measurement.11](Eq. heat is rejected as the vapor condenses back to a liquid. as a result. 2 which takes the following form in the asymptotic short-time limit H / H ref ~ 2t / t ref . For wick structures with micro. The purpose of this study is to demonstrate a technique that can be used to characterize the capillary performance of wick structures from 0-9 g accelerations. the wick is saturated with the fluid and a pressure difference is applied across the sample. the bubble point measurement will be substantially different from the mean pore size of the wick [7].or nano-sized pores the liquid column can be a few meters in height For example. which is in equilibrium with the saturated vapor. 3 NOMENCLATURE g h P ∆Pc gravitational acceleration constant height pressure capillary pressure difference hydrostatic pressure difference mesh number effective capillary radius temperature density surface tension contact angle [-] [m] [Pa] [Pa] [Pa] [-] [m] [K] [kg/m3] [N/m] [-] Here H=H(t) is the rise height and Href = 4σ / ρgDp and tref = 32µHref / ρgD2p are. From Eq. In this method a portion of the wick is submerged in the liquid and the height to which the liquid rises is measured. At the condenser. [12. limiting the mass transport. If the wick is flooded on one side. bubble point measurement is only able to measure the maximum pore size of the wick. the capillary force at the downstream section will hold the fluid against the pressure gradient. and hence the test is called bubble point measurement technique. This limitation can be overcome by measuring the rate of rise of the liquid column. the design of the wick structure is critical both for the mass transport and heat transfer characteristics of a heat pipe [5. a heat pipe. Hence. reference heights and times. This pressure gradient is steadily increased until the meniscus is not able to withstand the pressure and a leak develops.8]. This corresponds to the maximum pore size on the wick surface.

UV light source 254 nm Regular video camera Filter sheet that blocks UV but passes visual light Vapor Chamber Wick Wick saturated with water/UV dye solution Figure 2: UV Visualization setup Given the complexity of the challenge. Excess liquid pools at the sides and corners between the package and wick structure and can be observed as bright spots in the images. A filter between the sample and the camera is used to block reflected UV light and only allow light in the visible spectrum to reach the camera. 2) The setup should be light and be portable onto a spin table. Several methods have been described in the literature to visualize flow through porous media. Gupta et al. The dye absorbs the incident UV light and emits in the visible wavelength. Since the high g acceleration tests were to be conducted on a centrifuge. the saturated region in the wick will be visible in the image while the unsaturated region will remain dark. The method is tested and calibrated against bubble point measurement. [18] used a variation of the shadowgraph technique to study the formation of patterns at the onset of convection in fluid saturated porous media. Howle et al. the visualization method needed to be portable. best results were obtained using UV visualization.meniscus tracking method was developed to characterize the wicks. The package was able to retain the fluid in vertical (1g) position and the fluid was able to wick against the gravity vector. a novel fluorescent dye visualization method is developed to characterize the capillary performance of wick structures with micro. A schematic of this method is sketched in Figure 2.16] proposed the use of X-Rays to study single and multi-phase flows through porous media. After evaluation of several visualization techniques.nine g accelerations on a centrifuge. Sederman and Gladden [17] used threedimensional magnetic resonance imaging and flow visualization data to study the flow characteristics through packed bed of glass spheres. Wang and Khalili [19] used particle image velocimetry technique to study the flow of a refractive-index-matched fluid through a packed bed of glass spheres. Khalili et al. FLUORESCENT DYE VISUALIZATION AT 1G The visualization method had to satisfy two objectives. Since the experiment is performed in a dark room. the following parameters were identified to be crucial for performance and addressed in detail: • Dye selection: analyze excitation and emission characteristics • Dye concentration: find optimal concentration level • Camera settings: optimum exposure times for best contrast • Filter selection: filter to block UV light to camera Baseline: UV light on unsaturated sample Test: UV light on saturated sample Test: UV light &hood light on saturated sample Figure 3: UV Baseline results Optimization of these parameters resulted in a method where a clear contrast between saturated and unsaturated regions is achieved (see Figure 3). 3 Copyright © 2007 by ASME . A UV light source shines on a wick structure that is saturated with water/UV dye solution. [15. The fluorescent dye visualization method is used to demonstrate the wick performance from zero . and Bichenkov et al. LLC) was chosen as the light source. All the flow visualization methods described above either require that the wicks are transparent or need an elaborate setup to make the measurements. In the present study. 1) The method should provide a clear contrast between saturated and unsaturated regions of the wick structure. [14] demonstrated a non-intrusive method to make quantitative measurements in opaque wicks using positive emission tomography.and nano-sized pores. IFWB-C7 (Risk Reactor) was chosen as the fluorescent dye and a UV pen ray lamp (UVP.

Calculated values for reference times in Eq. This method can be used to characterize both capillary and permeability performance of wick structures.0 Test fixtures were designed and fabricated to hold the camera. density.3 m t_ref = 6. The theoretical average pore diameter found to give the best fit for short times was 1. 25. 3. the bubble point measurement only gives the maximum pore size of the wick and the mean pore diameter is expected to be less than 8 µm. zero contact angle and textbook values for the surface tension. was 8 µm. as 2xUVP 254 nm light source Pockets for flexible strip to clamp on penlight source Edge to clamp on TGP Edge to clamp on substrate TGP Wick substrate A -A Figure 6: Wick sample and light source holder fixture 4 Copyright © 2007 by ASME . Image analysis was used to track the height of the wicking front as a function of time (Figure 5). 2 were ~106 seconds so a “fit” to the experimental wick rise time data was made by varying only the assumed pore diameter in Eq.6 microns. The evaporation of the working fluid and non-uniform porosities are expected to be the causes for the mismatch of the curves at longer time scales.0 10. light sources and wick samples.0 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 A Camera window Time (s) Figure 5: Comparison of the experimental and theoretical meniscus rise rates. This fixture was fabricated out of Polycarbonate using rapid prototyping methods. This effect is unaccounted for in the theoretical model.0 A 15. In the model. The sample holder. t=42s t=56s t=70s Figure 4: Visualization of wick saturation in copper sintered wick of 75 µm using fluorescent dye (circular wick sample in vertical orientation) EXPERIMENTAL SETUP FOR HIGH-G ACCELERATION TESTS Figure 4 shows the progression of the saturation front through a circular wick structure in vertical orientation captured with a video camera. A theoretical model for the rise time of the meniscus has been made by modeling the wick as a bundle of cylindrical capillaries whose pore diameter is equal to the average pore diameter of the porous medium comprising the wick.0 Theory 20. Height of the dye front (mm) . As explained above.0 D_pore = 1. 30. presented in Figure 6. obtained through bubble point measurements.0 5. The team hopes to use this method to further study wicks and compare these results to analytical models.t=0s t=14s t=28s shown in Figure 5.6e-7 m H_ref = 7. and viscosity of methanol were assumed. was designed in order to fix the location of the light sources with respect to the sample and provide a repetitive method with consistent illumination levels.9e6 s 0. The experimental maximum pore diameter for the wick.

5 g for 60 seconds. The frame provides fixed positioning of the camera with respect to the sample. As the accelerometer was at larger radius than the sample the effective corresponding sample acceleration was found to be 8. Sample is decelerated.Saturated wick at 2.5 g 30 seconds. This acceleration profile was repeated. During the test confidence was gained in the strength of the setup and an additional acceleration profile was added. A live video feed of the sample was available in the control room as well as live data feed from the accelerometer. It is important to note that the main square area of the wick remains visible. After a deceleration to 0.deceleration 2. excess liquid pools on top Figure 7: Wick sample high g text fixture An aluminum camera fixture was designed and fabricated for mounting on the AFRL centrifuge (Figure 7). the excess liquid pools at the top. The testing plan consisted of: . 5 Copyright © 2007 by ASME . This indicates that the UV dye solution is present inside the square wick throughout the acceleration to 2.0g’s. The acceleration of the sample was calculated by correcting for the difference in radius between the accelerometer and the sample. Interestingly the camera position adjusted itself when the acceleration exceeded 5 g’s.6g’s and held at that acceleration for 60 seconds.9 g’s. The structure was designed out of aluminum profile for its favorable strength/weight ratio. The setup was mounted and balanced on the AFRL centrifuge and an accelerometer was added to the setup.acceleration 0 g to 2.6g.hold at 2.6 g’s. The sample was accelerated to 2. This was repeated until the accelerometer reading was at 10 g’s. The high-g acceleration experiments were conducted at the AFRL test facility. At higher acceleration. A slight excess pool of liquid can be observed on the sides of the sample at 0. . In this profile the sample is accelerated to around 2. A graph presents the acceleration profile.5 g to 0 g 30 seconds.5 g’s in 30 seconds after which the sample is accelerated an additional 1g every 30 seconds. excess liquid returns Figure 8: Wick saturation in accelerated environment (g-force direction up↑) HIGH-G ACCELERATION TEST RESULTS Figure 8 presents images of the wick sample as recorded by the camera at different acceleration conditions.0 g’s the liquid pool from the top re-floods the edges of the wick sample. This is attributed to the internal suspension of the camera and did not affect the measurements. The mean sample radius was found to be at 44 inches. .

. Wang. After validating the method. No. 4.. REFERENCES 1. China. This is attributed to the meniscus shape change at the accelerated condition and will be a subject of further study in subsequent phases of the program.9 g 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 Saturated wick at 8. 11.1 1. The rate of rise method was used to measure the mean pore diameter of the wick and compared with the value obtained from bubble point measurement.V. A.6 0.” Heat transfer Engineering.7 0. San Diego. and Bapat. A novel method for saturation visualization is presented in which a sample is saturated using a fluid with a fluorescent dye. 3. Refai-Ahmed.. the bubble point method proves to be a fast and simple method to get an initial estimate for sample performance.G. Kandlikar.U. Sixth International Symposium on heat transfer. A discussion is presented in which the challenges of measuring such performance for wicks with micro. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This paper is based upon work supported by DARPA under SSC SD Contract No. the dye front rise as a function of time was established. S.0 0.0 g 8. 911-923.CONCLUSIONS Experimental validation of capillary performance of wick structures is crucial in the development of high performance heat pipes. S.” Journal of Applied Physics. Normalized intensity (A. 3. Ca.. Vol. P.8 0. if the spread in pore size is reasonable.to nanosized wick structures is highlighted. “Advances in mesoscale thermal management technologies for microelectronics. 0g 2. G..5 0. excess liquid pools on top Sample is decelerated. However. The wick visualization technique is found to be a valuable method for obtaining information on the wick’s global and local capillary and permeability performance. N66001-08-C-2008.V. the technique was used to characterize the performance of wick samples in high-g accelerated environments. “On-chip hot spot cooling using silicon thermoelectric microcoolers.” Keynote Lecture.” Itherm 2006 Panel discussion. Garimella. 102. 2006. and Bar-Cohen.4 2. Beijing. findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SSC San Diego.5 g 5. excess liquid returns Figure 9: Wick saturation in accelerated environment (gforce direction up↑) At the high g-force acceleration. The fact that there is measurable emission at the bottom edge gives confidence that fluid is present at this location (compared to the zero emission from unsaturated regions as seen in the Figure 3 baseline). a reduction in brightness is observed at the bottom edge of the sample.. 2007. pp. 2004. 28. this might not be a good representation. S.9 0. spray and microchannel chip cooling options for high heat flux removal. This gradient in intensity was observed to be a strong function of the ‘g’ force acting on the wick sample. No. If the sample has a large variation in pore sizes. “Challenges in the Present and next Generation of Video Processors.) 1. Vol. 2007. Lakhani.9g. An ultraviolet light source and a camera with UV-filter are used to track the fluorescent dye front through the sample. A disadvantage of the bubble point method is that it only gives the maximum pore size in the wick.. 6 Copyright © 2007 by ASME . A. Using a post-processing algorithm. Any opinions. The advantages and disadvantages of using a bubble point test method for evaluation of such performance are presented. Figure 10 shows the intensity profile along the centerline (along the g-force direction) at 4 different accelerations. Length along the cross section (mm) Figure 10: The intensity profile along the centerline (along the g-force direction) at 4 different accelerations. “Evaluation of jet impingement.

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