Papers presented to the 11th International Conference on Heat Transfer, Fluid Mechanics and Thermodynamics, South Africa, 20-23 July 2015.
Heat pipes with a wick material consisting of small diameter metal fibres of 12 μm are investigated. The container material is copper and the working fluid is water. The fibre mesh heat pipe is compared with two other wick structures: a screen mesh (145 meshes per inch) and a sintered powder wick. All three heat pipes have an outer diameter of 6 mm, a length of 200 mm. The heat pipes are tested in a vertical orientation, both gravity-opposed and gravity-assisted. In the gravity-opposed orientation the heat pipes are tested for a heat input up to 50 W and an operating temperature of 70°C. In the gravity-assisted orientation the heat pipes are tested up to 160 W and 120°C. The thermal resistance and the temperature difference between evaporator and condenser are used as performance indicators.
For the gravity-assisted orientation, the screen mesh wick clearly outperforms the fibre and sintered powder wick, due to its higher permeability and better ability to distribute the working fluid over the circumference of the wick. For the gravity-opposed orientation, the fibre and screen mesh heat pipe perform equally well. Both have a lower thermal resistance than the sintered powder heat pipe, as the small diameter fibres and fine mesh create more and very small capillary channels in comparison with the sintered powder wick.