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Research Papers

Experimental Performance of a Completely Passive Thermosyphon Cooling System Rejecting Heat by Natural Convection Using the Working Fluids R1234ze, R1234yf, and R134a

[+] Author and Article Information
Filippo Cataldo

Laboratory of Heat and Mass Transfer (LTCM),
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL),
Station 9,
Lausanne CH-1015, Switzerland
e-mail: filippo.cataldo@epfl.ch

John Richard Thome

Professor
Laboratory of Heat and Mass Transfer (LTCM),
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
(EPFL),
Station 9,
Lausanne CH-1015, Switzerland
e-mail: john.thome.ch

Contributed by the Electronic and Photonic Packaging Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ELECTRONIC PACKAGING. Manuscript received November 30, 2017; final manuscript received March 16, 2018; published online May 9, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Baris Dogruoz.

J. Electron. Packag 140(2), 021002 (May 09, 2018) (11 pages) Paper No: EP-17-1125; doi: 10.1115/1.4039706 History: Received November 30, 2017; Revised March 16, 2018

The present paper proposes a proof of concept of a completely passive thermosyphon for cooling of power electronics. This thermosyphon is composed of an evaporator to cool down a four-heater pseudo-transistor module and a natural air-cooled condenser to reject the heat into the environment. R1234ze, R1234yf, and R134a are used as the working fluids with charges of 524, 517, and 566 g, respectively, for the low charge tests, and 720, 695, and 715 g for the high charge tests. It has been demonstrated that the refrigerant R1234ze with a low charge is not a good solution for the cooling system proposed here since low evaporator performance and fluid instability have been detected at moderate heat fluxes. In fact, R1234ze needed a larger charge of refrigerant to be safely used, reaching a transistor temperature of 53°C at a heat load of 65W. R1234yf and R134a, on the other hand, showed good results for both the low and the high charge cases. The maximum temperatures measured, respectively, were 52°C and 48°C at 65W for the low charge case and 55°C and 47°C at 62W for the high charge case. The corresponding values of overall thermal resistances of the thermosyphon for the working fluids R1234yf and R134a at the maximum heat load are very similar, being in the range of 0.440.46K/W.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

P and I diagram of the test facility

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Fig. 2

Energy balance validation in single-phase flow

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Fig. 3

Schematic layout of the transistor module and evaporator footprint

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Fig. 4

Three-dimensional view of the cold plate

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Fig. 5

Three-dimensional view of the cover

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Fig. 6

Picture of the PCB and heaters

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Fig. 7

Three-dimensional view of the assembled evaporator

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Fig. 8

Picture of the assembled evaporator

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Fig. 9

Picture of the condenser in natural convection mode

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Fig. 10

Preheater heat losses and thermocouple locations

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Fig. 11

Comparison between experimental and predicted heat losses at the preheater (a) and comparison between experimental and predicted mass flow (b)

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Fig. 12

Thermosyphon boiling curves with low (a) and high (b) charge of refrigerant for all the working fluids

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Fig. 13

Thermosyphon thermal resistances with low (a) and high (b) charge of refrigerant for all the working fluids

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Fig. 14

Thermosyphon thermal resistance budgets with low (a) and high (b) charge of refrigerant for all the working fluids at the maximum heat load tested

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Fig. 15

Thermosyphon mass flow rates with low (a) and high (b) charge of refrigerant for all the working fluids

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