As air cooling of electronics reaches the limits of its applicability, the next generation of cooling technology is likely to involve heat pipes and single- or two-phase coolant loops (including perhaps loop thermosyphons, spray cooling, vapor compression refrigeration cycles, and loop heat pipes). These technologies are not suitable for analysis using 2D/3D computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software, and yet the geometric complexities of the thermal/structural models make network-style schematic modeling methods cumbersome.

This paper describes techniques whereby CAD linedrawing methods can be used to quickly generate 1D fluid models of heat pipes and coolant loops within a 3D thermal model. These arcs and lines can be attached intimately or via lineal contact or saddle resistances to plates and other surfaces, whether those surfaces are modeled using thermal finite difference methods (FDM) or finite element methods (FEM) or combinations of both. The fluid lines can also be manifolded and customized as needed to represent complex heat exchangers and plumbing arrangements.

To demonstrate these concepts, two distinct examples are developed: a copper-water heat pipe, and an aluminumammonia loop heat pipe (LHP) with a serpentined condenser. A summary of the numerical requirements for system-level modeling of these devices is also provided.

David A. Johnson, Jane Baumann, Brent Cullimore