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Dr. Reza Azizian Giving Nanofluid Presentation for PSMA Webinar

Reza Azizian

Dr. Reza Azizian, a research scientist at ATS and an expert on nanofluids, will speak about nanofluid technology as part of a PSMA webinar on Thursday, Oct. 6. (Josh Perry/Advanced Thermal Solutions, Inc.)

On Thursday, Oct. 6, Dr. Reza Azizian, a research scientist at Advanced Thermal Solutions, Inc. (ATS), a leading-edge engineering and manufacturing company focused on the thermal management of electronics, and an expert on nanofluid technology, nano-engineered surfaces, fluid dynamics, heat transfer and two-phase flow, will present “Nanofluids for Electric Cooling” as part of a webinar sponsored by the Power Sources Manufacturers Association (PSMA).

Dr. Azizian will join a panel of experts to discuss the enhanced heat transfer properties of nanofluids and their potential for the thermal management of compact, liquid-cooled electronics. Dr. Azizian will present an overview of the current stage of nanofluids technology, state-of-the-art research into nanofluid thermos-physical properties, convective heat transfer, and boiling heat transfer.

Prior to the webinar, Dr. Azizian sat down with the Josh Perry, Marketing Communications Specialist at ATS, to speak about his career, his interest in nanofluids technology, and the upcoming webinar.

JP: Thank you for sitting down with us. We want to highlight the work that the engineers are doing here at ATS, so I appreciate you taking a few minutes out of your schedule for this Q&A. I saw on your bio that you got your doctorate in Australia, is that where you’re from?
RA: Thanks for having me! No, originally I am from Iran and I did my undergraduate there; then I moved to Turkey and did my Master’s in Turkey. After that I moved to Australia and I did my Ph.D. in Australia. And then I ended up in Boston and did my post-doc at MIT.

JP: How did you end up at MIT?
RA: There is a very famous professor at MIT who was working on heat transfer in nanofluids back then. I invited him to Australia. He came and visited our facility in Australia and gave a talk and then he became interested in my research. Then he invited me over and during my Ph.D. I came to MIT as a visiting student and I was here for a year and then I went back to finish my Ph.D. and came back as a post-doc.

JP: How did you end up joining the team at ATS?
RA: It was four years ago as a visiting student. I have a very good friend in Australia and I was always interested in high technology, heat transfer, electronic cooling, and then he sent me the link to the ATS website and said, ‘Hey Reza, while you’re in Boston, you might want to visit this company.’ I thought, wow this is cool. I went through the website to see what ATS does and saw some fascinating projects done by ATS. So, I emailed Dr. Kaveh Azar and he responded to one of my emails and then that’s how we got in touch and then I visited the ATS facility, and coincidentally when I went back to MIT and I was talking to my supervisor and I said, ‘Oh, I went and visited this company and they’re doing a great job.’ He said, ‘Oh, the name is very familiar.’ We realized that when he graduated, something like 16 years ago, he applied here for a job and got a job offer but he got a position at MIT so now he’s a professor there. I kept my contact with Kaveh and then I went back to Australia and finished my Ph.D. After I came back to the U.S. as a post-doc, I invited them to MIT to come and visit our laboratory. So, we stayed in touch.

That’s how I came to know ATS and I realized that they are doing a great job in electric cooling and I was always interested because in electronic cooling there is no limit basically. Electronic equipment is becoming smaller and smaller every day and the only limit is thermal, at least at the moment. The only barrier is thermal issue for the advancement of electronic cooling and that’s why basically all of the funding from the Department of Defense, NASA, etc., it’s all on cooling. Because again, at this stage with all of these nanotechnologies and manufacturing capabilities, they don’t have any barrier to make things smaller except thermal. It’s a very interesting area of research and, you know, when you’re at the university you do cutting-edge research, which is cool, but it’s always nicer to do the research and then build something and use your knowledge in a more applicable way.

JP: Many of the people who read this will probably know, but what are nanofluids?
RA: Nanofluid is the term that you use when you disperse metal or metal oxide nanoparticles, which with the dimensions of 109 m, which is like .000000001 meter…very tiny, and you disperse these in your base fluid, whatever it is – could be water, oil, anything – and because they are tiny they are going to stay dispersed and at the same time because they are metal or metal oxide their thermal conductivity is going to be much higher than your base fluid. In simple language, thermal conductivity means the ability of the material to transfer heat. So, for example, for water the thermal conductivity is .6 W/mK, but for copper it’s like 400 W/mK, so you can assume that by mixing these two, again because the particles are tiny you will still have your liquid, which can easily flow, but at the same time it has higher thermal conductivity compared to the base fluid that you have.

The nanofluid term comes into play because of the heat transfer limitations that you normally have. In very general terms, there are two ways that you can increase the rate of heat transfer. One of them is increasing the surface area and the other is to increase the flow rate. Increasing the surface area, you are normally limited by the space that you have, right, and also increasing the flow rate you should use a bigger pump for example, to have a higher flow rate, which these are all costly. The only option left is if you can play with your working fluid and see how you can improve that and one of the ways you can improve that is by dispersing these nanoparticles to increase the overall thermal conductivity of your working fluid.

JP: How did you get interested in nanofluids? How did that become the focus of your studies and work?
RA: I’ve been working on nanofluids for the past 10 years. I came to know nanofluids during my Master’s and it was for my final-year project. I was looking for something cool and, even back then, nanotechnology was everywhere and then I was looking for something in the area of nanotechnology and heat transfer. I remember, my supervisor didn’t know much and he was like, ‘If you’re going to do this then you’re going to be on your own. I can’t help you much.’ It was funny, I went to the Internet to look up nanofluids and the first thing that came up was the name of this professor at MIT that I was working with during my post-doc. Back then, I remember I was sitting in my office and his name came up and I was telling my office mate, ‘This guy is cool. I’m going to go and work with him one day.’ And he laughed at me like, ‘Oh from here you’re going to go and work with him at MIT? Such a dream.’ And I’m here now.

JP: Obviously there is quite a bit more known about them now, how much has the subject matter changed in the 10 years that you’ve been studying nanofluids?
RA: The good thing is that now there are companies that are actually making nanofluids with very good stability – the particles don’t settle, they stay stable for a long time – and they commercialized a couple of nanofluids that are available now. They even use them in car engines, in the radiators, to increase the rate of cooling. They use it for CPU cooling. Next month, I’m going to go to Europe, there’s an event for the European Union, and they’re trying to basically commercialize nanofluids by 2020. They’re trying to see what are the barriers. The field’s improved a lot. The whole term of nanofluid was invented in 1999, so it’s only 17-18 years. So, it’s a fairly new area of research and seeing this technology commercialized now…the progress was quite fast.

JP: What will you be talking about in the PSMA webinar taking place on Thursday, Oct. 6?
RA: I’m going to be talking about nanofluids in general. What are nanofluids, basically, and what are the applications of nanofluids, in particular, in electronic cooling and high-powered electronics, which is the interest to PSMA. Then I’m going to give a brief explanation about the thermo-physical properties of the nanofluids followed by how they behave under laminar and turbulent flow conditions or even boiling for immersed cooling of electronics. And then I will conclude my talk by [explaining] what is the state-of-the-art and what are the future directions we expect nanofluids are heading to.

JP: Why do you think this is an important topic? Why do you think nanofluids are important as we go forward in the world of electronics cooling?
RA: These tiny particles, you add them to your working fluid and you don’t add much to the pumping power that you’re going to use because they are tiny, but at the same time you see 15-20 percent enhancement (depending on the nanoparticles and working fluid combination) in the heat transfer coefficient without changing any hardware. So, it has a very good potential and, again, this is only for single-phase heat transfer. In the case of immerse cooling of high-powered electronics, which boiling is the main heat transfer mechanism, we were able to see 200-250 percent enhancement in the value of critical heat flux by just changing the working fluid to nanofluid. It’s a very convenient way of doing it.

JP: Do you see nanofluids as the future of the industry? Do you see this is where electronics cooling is heading?
RA: I have to highlight that there are still problems with using nanofluids. This is why there is still research going on in this area. Stability is a big issue. You can use definitely some form of surfactant, which is a polymer that covers these particles’ surfaces and that keeps them dispersed. But in general if you don’t have that these particles, because they are tiny, they are under constant Brownian motion and when they become close to each other they stick to each other and then they agglomerate and they settle. So, there are still some issues that different research groups are trying to address but definitely it’s an area that I think is very useful for electronic cooling.

JP: Is research still going on here at ATS? Are you still really involved in the research and trying to find more applications for it?
RA: Yeah, yeah…we are always trying to push more towards using nanofluids. And hopefully we’ll see more in the future.

If you are interested in the PSMA webinar on Oct. 6, contact power@psma.com no later than Oct. 4. For more information about Advanced Thermal Solutions, Inc., its thermal management products, testing equipment, and consulting services, visit www.qats.com.

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National Thermal Engineer DayNational Thermal Engineer Day is a day celebrated on the National Day Calendar and sponsored by Advanced Thermal Solutions (ATS), dedicated to celebrating the importance of thermal management and the thermal engineers that cool the impossible. Thermal Engineers know the intricate science of heat flow and methods to provide cooling. They must account for every component in a device, how they all work together and where the device will be used. They use specialized equipment in dedicated thermal labs. They have training in electrical, mechanical and software engineering.

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Understanding Loop Heat Pipes

Looped heat pipes (LHPs) are two-phase heat transfer devices that employ the same capillary pumping of a working fluid as used in conventional heat pipes. LHPs can transfer heat efficiently up to several meters at any orientation in the gravity field. When placed horizontally, this distance can extend to several tens of meters.

The development of the LHP was driven mainly by a limit of conventional heat pipes in which the wick system abruptly decreases its heat transfer capacity, if the evaporator is raised higher than the condenser. This need was acutely felt in aerospace applications where the heat generated by the electronics had to be transferred efficiently away for dissipation purposes. But the device needed to be much less sensitive to changes in orientation in the gravity field. Figures 1a and 1b show the schematic of an LHP [1].

The development of looped heat pipes dates from 1972.    Qpedia_0508_Loop_Heat_Pipes_Figure1Figure 1. Schematic of Principle of Operation of a Loop Heat Pipe [1, 2].

The first such device, with a length of 1.2m, a capacity of about 1 kW, and water as its working fluid, was created and tested successfully by the Russian scientists Gerasimov and Maydanik from the Ural Polytechnic Institute. With heat needing to be transported over a longer distance, and because the working fluid circulation in a heat pipe is directly proportional to the surface tension coefficient and inversely proportional to the effective pore radius of the wick, a different system for heat transport was required when the evaporator was above the condenser. This is shown in Figure 1.

The capillary head must be increased to compensate for pressure losses when the liquid is moving to the evaporator while operating against gravity. This can only be done by decreasing the effective pore radius of the wick. However, the increase in hydraulic resistance is approximately proportional to the square of the pore radius. As a result, it has not been possible to build a heat pipe of sufficient length that is capable of operating efficiently against gravity. Thus, there was incentive to develop LHPs, and they are now finding further application in modern electronics.

As stated, a number of limits impact the performance of an LHP. Qing et. al. [3] performed a detailed investigation of three key parameters on the performance of a looped heat pipe for use in cryogenics applications. This LHP is shown in Figure 2.

1) Effect of Wick Pore Size – It is well known that the maximum capillary pressure produced by the primary wick depends on both the effective pore size and the surface tension of the working fluid. In general, the smaller the pore size and the larger the surface tension, the higher the maximum capillary pressure. A smaller pore size will also result in larger flow resistance which will limit heat transfer capability. The pore sizes considered were 2 and 10 μm.
Figure 2. Schematic of an LHP for Cryogenics Application [3].
When the pore size of the primary wick is larger (10mm), the heat transfer capability of the LHP can reach 26 W only when a smaller reservoir (60cc) is used. Its ability to operate against gravity is greatly weakened. With a wick pore size of 2mm, the LHP can transfer a heat load of 26 W under horizontal orientation no matter what size reservoir volume is used.

Qpedia_0508_Loop_Heat_Pipes_Figure2Figure 2. Schematic of an LHP for Cryogenics Application [3].

2. Effect of Reservoir Size – It is interesting to see how the LHP will function with different reservoir sizes. As shown in Figure 3, the combination of gravity and reservoir size has a direct impact on the heat transfer capability of the LHP. Under adverse gravity, the heat transfer capability of the LHP is 12 W using the larger reservoir and only 5W using the smaller one.Qpedia_0508_Loop_Heat_Pipes_Figure3
Figure 3. Heat Transfer Capability of LHPs with 2mm and 10mm Pore Diameters in Horizontal Orientation [3].

3. Effect of Working Fluid – Fluids have different surface tensions that impact the heat transport capability of the LHP.

Figure 4 demonstrates this capability: Qpedia_0508_Loop_Heat_Pipes_Figure4
Figure 4. Heat Transfer Capability of an LHP When the Working Fluid is Oxygen [3].

Though not shown in Figure 4, when the working fluid is oxygen instead of nitrogen, the heat transfer capability can be up to 50 W under horizontal orientation with the other experimental conditions remaining the same.

LHP Applications
This discussion has highlighted the functionality and importance of design parameters on the performance of LHPs. While this discussion concerns an aerospace application, LHPs have been used for standard electronics as well. Maydanik gives several examples where miniature LHPs are used for microelectronics [1]. Figure 5 shows the “use of flat disk-shaped evaporators in LHPs. The scheme and the external view of such evaporators 10 and 13mm
thick, whose thermo-contact surface is made in the form of a flange 45 mm in diameter for fixing the heat source. The results of development of ammonia LHPs 0.86m and 1m long with a vapor and a liquid line 2mm in diameter equipped with such evaporators of stainless steel. In trials the devices demonstrated serviceability at any orientations in 1-g conditions. The maximum capacity was, respectively, 90–110 W and 120–160 W, depending on the orientation, and the value of the minimum thermal resistance 0.30 K/W and 0.42 K/W.”

Figure 5. Photo and Schematic of Flat, Disk-Shaped Evaporators in an LHP [1].

Another design is shown in Figure 6, where miniature LHPs are made from stainless steel and copper and the working fluids are ammonia and water . The ammonia LHP has a 5mm diameter evaporator with a titanium wick, and 2mm diameter lines for vapor and liquid.. The water LHP is equipped with a 6mm diameter evaporator and 2.5mm diameter lines. The effective length of the devices is about 300mm.

Figure 6. Miniature LHPs [1].

Each has a finned condenser, 62mm long, whose total surface is about 400cm2. The condensers are cooled by a fan providing an air flow rate of 0.64 m3/min, at a temperature of 22 ± 2°C.
Tests show that the maximum capacity of the ammonia LHP is 95 W at an evaporator wall temperature of 93°C. The maximum capacity for the water LHP was not achieved, but at the same temperature it was equal to 130 W. The minimum thermal resistance values of the LHP, 0.12 K/W and 0.1K/W, were obtained at heat loads of 70 W and 130 W, respectively. It should be noted that the ammonia LHP demonstrated a higher value of for heat transfer coefficient in the evaporator, which reached 78,000 W/m2K at a heat flow density of 21.2 W/cm2 at the surface of an interface with an area of 4 cm2. For the water LHP, these values were, respectively, 31,700 W/m2K and 35 W/cm2. In this case, at the surface of the evaporator’s active zone, the heat flow density was much higher. For the ammonia LHP it was 44.5 W/cm2, and for the water was 69.1 W/cm2 [3].

Figure 7. Photo and Schematic of a CPU Cooler Based on an LHP [4, 5].

Another example of LHPs in microelectronics is shown in Figure 7. Here, an LHP was designed for cooling a 25-30 W processor with a total weight of 50g. This LHP was based on copper-water with an evaporator diameter of 6mm.
In conclusion, LHPs may resolve many of the drawbacks seen in conventional heat pipes and provide additional capabilities. As shown by Maydanik, the capillary mechanism, in conjunction with the reservoir size and the use of different fluids, can bring significant advantages that may not readily be seen in heat pipes. Some of these include:

  • the use of fine-pored wicks,
  • maximum decrease in the distance of the liquid motion in the wick,
  • organization of effective heat exchange during the evaporation and condensation of a working fluid, and,
  • maximum decrease in pressure losses in the transportation (adiabatic) section.

Along with the advantages gained from LHPs, the use of liquids in electronics and potential operational instability must be considered carefully. Operational instability, if not managed, could conceivably create thermal cycling on the electronics component being cooled. As with heat pipes,operational dry out or the loss of fluid due to leakage could render the LHP inoperable. Otherwise, LHPs appear to be an attractive supplement to the arsenal of cooling options available to the design engineer. ■

1. Maydanik, Y.., Loop Heat Pipes, Applied Thermal Engineering, 2005.
2. Muraoka, I., Ramos, F., Vlassov, V., Analysis of the Operational Characteristics and Limits of a Loop Heat Pipe with Porous Element in the Condenser, International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, V44, 2001.
3. Mo, Q., Jingtao, L., Jinghui, C., Investigation of the Effects of Three Key Parameters on the Heat Transfer Capability of a CLHP, Cryogenics V47, 2007.
4. Chang, C., Huang, B., Maydanik, Y., Feasibility of a Mini LHP for CPU Cooling of a Notebook PC, Proc. of 12th Int. Heat Pipe Conference, Moscow, Russia, May 2002.
5. Pastukhov, V., Maydanik, Y., Vershinin, C., Korukov, M., Miniature Loop Heat Pipes for Electronic Cooling

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