A 3D computational fluid dynamics model for heat pipes

A research group led by Prof. YU Dali from the Hefei Institutes of Physical Science of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) has developed a transient 3D computational fluid dynamics model to investigate the liquid-vapor flow and heat transfer for a water heat pipe under various non-uniform loads.

Heat pipes are highly efficient heat transfer devices that utilize the phase transition of a working fluid to achieve high-flux heat transfer.

In this study, the researchers developed the 3D transient heat pipe model using FLUENT software. With this model, the circumferential flow characteristics of the heat pipe at the wick region under non-uniform heating conditions were observed for the first time using numerical methodology.

They found that the heat pipe started up much faster when the heating power was increased or the length of the adiabatic section was reduced. They proved that lowering the circumferential heating range didn’t change the start-up time.

In addition, uneven heating power in the horizontal direction caused the spot on the wall with the highest temperature to tilt toward the spot with the highest power. On the other hand, when the heat pipe was heated evenly, the temperature on the wall was the lowest.

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