Modelling and performance of heat pipes with long evaporator sections

Wessel W. Wits*, Gert Jan te Riele

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)
    461 Downloads (Pure)


    This paper presents a planar cooling strategy for advanced electronic applications using heat pipe technology. The principle idea is to use an array of relatively long heat pipes, whereby heat is disposed to a long section of the pipes. The proposed design uses 1 m long heat pipes and top cooling through a fan-based heat sink. Successful heat pipe operation and experimental performances are determined for seven heating configurations, considering active bottom, middle and top sections, and four orientation angles (0°, 30°, 60° and 90°). For all heating sections active, the heat pipe oriented vertically in an evaporator-down mode and a power input of 150 W, the overall thermal resistance was 0.014 K/W at a thermal gradient of 2.1 K and an average operating temperature of 50.7 °C. Vertical operation showed best results, as can be expected; horizontally the heat pipe could not be tested up to the power limit and dry-out occurred between 20 and 80 W depending on the heating configuration. Heating configurations without the bottom section active demonstrated a dynamic start-up effect, caused by heat conduction towards the liquid pool and thereafter batch-wise introducing the working fluid into the two-phase cycle. By analysing the heat pipe limitations for the intended operating conditions, a suitable heat pipe geometry was chosen. To predict the thermal performance a thermal model using a resistance network was created. The model compares well with the measurement data, especially for higher input powers. Finally, the thermal model is used for the design of a 1 kW planar system-level electronics cooling infrastructure featuring six 1 m heat pipes in parallel having a long (~75%) evaporator section.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3341-3351
    Number of pages11
    JournalHeat and mass transfer
    Issue number11
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017


    • Heat pipes
    • Planar cooling
    • System-level electronics cooling
    • Long evaporator section
    • Evaporator-down mode
    • Dynamic start-up response


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