Two-phase flow instabilities in a silicon microchannels heat sink

D. Bogojevic, K. Sefiane, A. J. Walton, H. Lin, G. Cummins

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114 Citations (Scopus)


Two-phase flow instabilities are highly undesirable in microchannels-based heat sinks as they can lead to temperature oscillations with high amplitudes, premature critical heat flux and mechanical vibrations. This work is an experimental study of boiling instabilities in a microchannel silicon heat sink with 40 parallel rectangular microchannels, having a length of 15 mm and a hydraulic diameter of 194 μm. A series of experiments have been carried out to investigate pressure and temperature oscillations during the flow boiling instabilities under uniform heating, using water as a cooling liquid. Thin nickel film thermometers, integrated on the back side of a heat sink with microchannels, were used in order to obtain a better insight related to temperature fluctuations caused by two-phase flow instabilities. Flow regime maps are presented for two inlet water temperatures, showing stable and unstable flow regimes. It was observed that boiling leads to asymmetrical flow distribution within microchannels that result in high temperature non-uniformity and the simultaneously existence of different flow regimes along the transverse direction. Two types of two-phase flow instabilities with appreciable pressure and temperature fluctuations were observed, that depended on the heat to mass flux ratio and inlet water temperature. These were high amplitude/low frequency and low amplitude/high frequency instabilities. High speed camera imaging, performed simultaneously with pressure and temperature measurements, showed that inlet/outlet pressure and the temperature fluctuations existed due to alternation between liquid/two-phase/vapour flows. It was also determined that the inlet water subcooling condition affects the magnitudes of the temperature oscillations in two-phase flow instabilities and flow distribution within the microchannels.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)854-867
JournalInternational Journal of Heat and Fluid Flow
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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