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Analysis of loop heat pipe performance under varying wick load

A. Heitor Reis
Department of Physics, University of Évora, Rua Romão Ramalho, 59, 7000-671 Évora, Portugal; and Évora Geophysics Centre, Apartado 94, 7002-554 Évora, Portugal

Antonio Ferreira Miguel
Department of Physics, School of Sciences and Technology, University of Evora, Institute of Earth Sciences (ICT) Pole of Evora, Portugal

Murat Aydin
Geophysics Centre of Évora, Rua Romão Ramalho, 59, 7000-671 Évora, Portugal; and Institute of Energy, Istanbul Technica lUniversity, 34469 Maslak-Istanbul, Turkey


Loop heat pipes (LHP) are heat transfer devices used to enhance cooling of small spaces and basically consist of sealed tubes connecting a heat source, the evaporator, whose major part is a porous wick, with a condenser that operates as heat sink. In this paper we analyse the effect of curvature of the liquid vapor interface upon the vapor pressure within wick pores. We show how this effect affects start-up by requiring a difference between wick and condenser temperatures as higher as wick pore width becomes smaller. We analysed also transient operation and found that ideally LHP are self-adjusting systems that tend to stable operation. We present a formula to describe the transient regime. The analysis provides also optimization of wick pore width for maximum heat transfer. Optimal pore width is shown to vary with temperature difference between wick and condenser. It is envisaged how this feature may help in LHP design.

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