Theoretical and experimental investigation of rotating heat pipes

Wessel W. Wits*, Henk Rompelman, Yannick Jeggels, Davoud Jafari, Norbert Engelberts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

43 Downloads (Pure)


This paper presents the thermal behaviour of heat pipes that rotate in the horizontal plane. Enabling high-performance electronics cooling, working under various operating conditions, necessitates a deep understanding of the system in which heat pipes play a critical role. Depending on the orientation of the heat pipe with respect to the rotating arm, the working fluid experiences acceleration forces that may either promote or hinder working fluid circulation. In this paper, we address the following question: to what extent does the system design dictate heat pipe performances? To this goal, (1) we established an analytical model based on conventional heat pipe limits to predict heat pipe performance taking rotational speed and resulting centrifugal forces into account, and (2) we developed an experimental set-up to validate model predictions. Hereto, two heat pipes are mounted on opposite ends of a rotating beam. The radial offset with respect to the rotational axis, rotational speed and the heat pipe’s mounting angle with respect to the rotating beam were varied systematically. A commercially available copper-water heat pipe Ø10x250 mm with a sintered wick was examined. Experimental results show consistent results for operation in both static and rotating environments. Moreover, static heat pipe models show good agreement and may be used for rotating heat pipes provided that the gravitational constant is adjusted accordingly. Above 1g of opposing acceleration forces on the liquid flow, heat pipe performance quickly diminishes and evaporator dry out was observed. Acceleration forces supporting the liquid flow show similar results as a correctly functioning heat pipe; however, the capillary limit can be significantly extended.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2023
EventJoint 21st International Heat Pipe Conference and 15th International Heat Pipe Symposium - RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 5 Feb 20239 Feb 2023


ConferenceJoint 21st International Heat Pipe Conference and 15th International Heat Pipe Symposium
Internet address


Dive into the research topics of 'Theoretical and experimental investigation of rotating heat pipes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this