Allowing a liquid to boil in cooling systems dramatically increases how much heat can be removed, compared to simply heating a liquid to below its boiling point. Now Suresh Garimella, a Purdue University mechanical engineering professor, and other researchers have figured out a key to determining how boiling in tiny channels differs from what happens in ordinary size tubing used in conventional cooling systems.
The researchers studied a "dielectric liquid," a fluid that doesn't conduct electricity, which allows it to be used directly in circuits without causing electrical shorts.
"We have finally made sense of boiling in small-scale channels and now have a nice understanding of the physics," said Garimella, director of the NSF Cooling Technologies Research Center.
The results could be used to better cool IGBTs and other power semiconductors used in applications such as hybrid vehicles and more efficient power supplies.
More details are available here: http://news.uns.purdue.edu/x/2009b/090922GarimellaBoiling.html