Flow boiling in an in-line set of short narrow gap channels

D. Janssen, J. M. Dixon, S. J. Young, F. A. Kulacki

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Heat transfer coefficients in a set of three symmetrically heated narrow gap channels arranged in line are reported at power densities of 1 kW/cm3 and wall heat flux of 3-40 W/cm2. This configuration emulates an electronics system wherein power dissipation can vary across an array of processors, memory chips, or other components. Three pairs of parallel ceramic resistance heaters in a nearly adiabatic housing form the flow passage, and length-to-gap ratios for each pair of heaters are 34 at a gap of 0.36 mm. NovecTM 7200 and 7300 are used as the heat transfer fluids. Nonuniform longitudinal power distributions are designed with the center heater pair at 1.5X and 2X the level of the first and third heater pairs. At all levels of inlet subcooling, single-phase heat transfer dominates over the first two heater pairs, while the third pair exhibits significant increases because of the presence of flow boiling. Reynolds numbers range from 250 to 1200, Weber numbers from 2 to 14, and boiling numbers from O(10-4) to O(10-3). Exit quality can reach 30% in some cases. Overall heat transfer coefficients of 40 kW/m2K are obtained. Pressure drops for both NovecTM heat transfer fluids are approximately equal at a given mass flux, and a high ratio of heat transfer to pumping power (coefficient of performance (COP)) is obtained. With a mass flux of 250 kg/m2s, heater temperatures can exceed 95 °C, which is the acceptable limit of steady operation for contemporary high performance electronics. Thus, an optimal operating point involving power density, power distribution, mass flux, and inlet subcooling is suggested by the data set for this benchmark multiheater configuration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number111501
JournalJournal of Heat Transfer
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015


  • Flow boiling
  • Novec<sup>TM</sup> heat transfer fluid
  • coefficient of performance
  • heat transfer coefficient
  • in-line heater array
  • narrow gap channel

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