Size and shape effects on two-phase flow patterns in microchannel forced convection boiling

Man Lee, Yiu Yan Wong, Man Wong, Yitshak Zohar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


An integrated microchannel heat sink consisting of shallow, nearly rectangular microchannels has been fabricated using standard micromachining techniques to highlight the effects of the micrometer sized channel shape on the evolving flow patterns and, consequently, on the thermal performance of the microsystem. An integrated heater serves as a local heat source, while an array of micro thermistors is used for temperature distribution measurements. The working fluid, DI water, is pressurized through the microchannels for forced convection heat transfer studies. Boiling curves for different flow rates have been recorded and analyzed based on the visualized flow patterns. Local nucleation, including bubble formation and bubble dynamics, is documented and found to be negligible. Although detected, in contrast with triangular microchannels, annular flow is observed to be unstable. Instead, the dominant flow pattern is an unsteady transition region connecting an upstream vapor zone to a downstream liquid zone with an average location depending on the input power. A physical mechanism based on the force balance across the vapor-liquid interface, and the development of a restoring force, is proposed to explain the flow visualization results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-164
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Micromechanics and Microengineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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