As microprocessors shrink in size and increase in power dissipation levels, the current need for advanced electronics cooling techniques is paramount since power dissipation levels are rapidly exceeding the capabilities of forced air convection cooling. This paper reports an investigation of using a capillary assisted thermosyphon for the shipboard cooling of electronics components. The capillary assisted thermosyphon differs from the capillary pumped loop or loop heat pipe system in that the basic cooling loop is based on a thermosyphon. The capillary assist comes from the fact that there is a wicking structure in the flat evaporator plate, however, the wicking structure is there to spread the working fluid across the flat plate evaporator in the areas under the heat sources. This differs from a capillary pumped loop in that the wick structure does not produce a capillary pumping head from the liquid return to the vapor outlet side of the evaporator. In fact, the liquid return and vapor outlet are almost at the same pressure. The forced circulation in the thermosyphon is caused by a gravity head between the condenser cold plate and the flat plate evaporator. An experimental facility for conducting research on capillary assisted thermosyphon was developed. In order to simulate the shipboard cooling water encountered at various locations of the ocean, the heat sink temperature of the facility could be varied. A vertical flat plate, CAT evaporator was designed and tested under thermal sink temperatures of 4, 21 and 37°C. The condenser cold plate cooling water flow rate varied from 0.38 to 3 GPM. The heat input varied from 250 to 1500 W evenly spread over the area of the evaporator. The CAT flat plate evaporator performed very well under this range of heat inputs, sink temperatures, and cold plate flow rates. The main result obtained showed that as heat input increased the amount of subcooling between the evaporator vapor outlet line and liquid return line increased. This subcooling did not hinder thermal performance as measured by the internal operating temperature.

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