Due to the information technology revolution of the last two decades, strong industrial productivity growth has brought an improved quality of life worldwide. Inevitably, heat fluxes and volumetric energy generation rates keep increasing in many applications; but the operating temperatures of the devices must be held to reasonably low values to ensure their reliability. Although much advancement has been made in traditional areas such as electronics cooling, it is not enough. New challenges will surface in the manufacturing of information technology related equipment and materials that require further research and development by the transport phenomena community.
As modern computer chips and power electronics become smaller and more densely packed, the need for more efficient cooling systems increases. The new design of a computer chip at Intel, for instance, will produce localized heat flux over 100 W/cm2, with the total power exceeding 300 W. In addition to the limitations on maximum chip temperature, further constraints may be imposed on the level of temperature uniformity in electronic components. Heat pipes are a very promising technology for achieving high local heat removal rates and uniform temperatures in computer chips. Miniature and micro heat pipes have been and are being used in electronic cooling. For example, a majority of laptop computers use heat pipes to get rid of heat produced in chip processors.
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