3D Printed Heat Pipe Wick Structure

Authors: Christina Castro

Advisor: Dr. Guna Selvaduray

Thermal management is important in medical devices that generate high heat fluxes to maintain a functional amount of thermal energy throughout the entire system. Heat pipes are heat transfer devices that provide high heat transfer capabilities to manage thermal energy. However, the internal wick structures of heat pipes are the limiting factor in heat pipe performance. Through the use of metal 3D printing, the purpose of this project is to design, print, and characterize the wick structure of heat pipes for capillary action-based fluid transportation. Capillary action, contact angle, and surface tension can be maximized by improving upon the wick structure which will increase the rate and volume of fluid returned into a reservoir to be heated again. As a result, the thermal management in the system will be more efficient. The wettability of the wick structure with a high porosity and fine pore radius is expected to achieve ideal heat transfer capabilities. Based on common sintered heat pipes, the internal structures that will be designed and tested in this project are two types of foam-like structures that will determine the relevance of porosity and capillary action in thermal management systems.