Conceptual Design and Simulation of Forced Convection Micro Heat Spreaders

The micro heat spreader (MHS) is a closed loop single-phase microfluidic system for efficient dissipation of large, concentrated heat loads. The MHS connects two flow expansion chambers through a micro-channel. The bottom surfaces of the expansion chambers consist of electrostatically actuated micro-membranes. A continuous pumping action for the coolant fluid is generated by driving the membranes with a phase difference of \pi. Heat generated by the source located just above the micro-channel is rapidly conducted to the fluid due to the small micro-channel height. While the hot fluid is pumped towards the exit of the micro-channel, sudden expansion of the geometry in to the mixing chamber promotes flow separation and mixing of the exiting hot fluid with the colder fluid in the chamber. The pumping direction then reverses, and the procedure is repeated cyclically. The concept testing of the MHS is obtained by an h/p finite element simulation package Nektar, based on an arbitrary Lagrangian Eulerian formulation for solution of the Navier-Stokes and the heat transport equations. The simulations performed for water at Re=6 indicated a thermal energy removal rate of 60 W/cm^2, with a maximum temperature difference of 10 K on the MHS surface. This heat flux is an order of magnitude higher than that dissipated by the micro-heat-pipes used in electronic cooling. The proposed microfluidic design also allows closed-loop control strategies for efficient dissipation of time varying thermal loads.