Suppressing high-frequency temperature oscillations in microchannels with surface structures Academic Article uri icon


  • 2017 Author(s). Two-phase microchannel heat sinks are attractive for thermal management of high heat flux electronic devices, yet flow instability which can lead to thermal and mechanical fatigue remains a significant challenge. Much work has focused on long-timescale (seconds) flow oscillations which are usually related to the compressible volume in the loop. The rapid growth of vapor bubbles which can also cause flow reversal, however, occurs on a much shorter timescale (tens of milliseconds). While this high-frequency oscillation has often been visualized with high-speed imaging, its effect on the instantaneous temperature has not been fully investigated due to the typical low sampling rates of the sensors. Here, we investigate the temperature response as a result of the high-frequency flow oscillation in microchannels and the effect of surface microstructures on this temperature oscillation with a measurement data acquisition rate of 1000 Hz. For smooth surface microchannels, fluid flow oscillated between complete dry-out and rewetting annular flow due to the short-timescale flow instability, which caused high-frequency and large amplitude temperature oscillations (10 C in 25 ms). In comparison, hydrophilic surface structures on the microchannel promoted capillary flow which delayed and suppressed dry-out in each oscillation cycle, and thus significantly reduced the temperature oscillation at high heat fluxes. This work suggests that promoting capillary wicking via surface structures is a promising technique to reduce thermal fatigue in high heat flux two-phase microchannel thermal management devices.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Zhu, Y., Antao, D. S., Bian, D. W., Rao, S. R., Sircar, J. D., Zhang, T., & Wang, E. N.

citation count

  • 27

complete list of authors

  • Zhu, Yangying||Antao, Dion S||Bian, David W||Rao, Sameer R||Sircar, Jay D||Zhang, Tiejun||Wang, Evelyn N

publication date

  • January 1, 2017 11:11 AM