Applied Sciences, Vol. 13, Pages 6351: Thermographic Investigation on Fluid Oscillations and Transverse Interactions in a Fully Metallic Flat-Plate Pulsating Heat Pipe

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Applied Sciences, Vol. 13, Pages 6351: Thermographic Investigation on Fluid Oscillations and Transverse Interactions in a Fully Metallic Flat-Plate Pulsating Heat Pipe

Applied Sciences doi: 10.3390/app13106351

Authors:
Luca Pagliarini
Luca Cattani
Vincent Ayel
Maksym Slobodeniuk
Cyril Romestant
Fabio Bozzoli

The present investigation deals with the quantification of fluid oscillation frequencies in a metallic pulsating heat pipe tested at varying heat loads and orientations. The aim is to design a robust technique for the study of the inner fluid dynamics without adopting typical experimental solutions, such as direct fluid visualizations through transparent inserts. The studied device is made of copper, and it is partially filled with a water–ethanol mixture (20 wt.% of ethanol). Heat fluxes locally exchanged between the working fluid and the device walls are first assessed through the inverse heat conduction problem resolution approach by processing outer wall temperature distributions acquired by thermography. The estimated local heat transfer quantities are therefore processed to quantify the fluid oscillatory behavior in every device branch during the intermittent flow and full activation regimes, thus providing a deeper insight into the heat transfer modes. After dealing with a further validation of the inverse approach in terms of oscillation frequency restoration capability, the wall-to-fluid heat fluxes referred to each channel are processed by means of the wavelet method. Scalograms and power spectra of the considered signals are presented for a time-based analysis of the working fluid oscillations, as well as for the identification of dominant oscillation frequencies. Fluid motion is then quantified in terms of the continuity of fluid oscillations and activity of channels by applying a scalogram denoising technique named K-means clustering method. Moreover, a statistical reduction of the channel-wise dominant oscillation frequencies is performed to provide useful references for the interpretation of the overall oscillatory behavior. The link between oscillations and transverse interactions is finally investigated. The vertical bottom-heated mode exhibits stronger fluid oscillations with respect to the horizontal mode, with fluid oscillation frequencies ranging from 0.78 up to 1 Hz. Nonetheless, the fluid motion is more stable in terms of oscillation frequency between channels when the device operates in the horizontal orientation probably due to negligible buoyancy effects. Moreover, thermal interactions between adjacent channels are found to be stronger when the oscillatory behavior presents similar features from channel to channel in horizontal orientation. The proposed method for fluid oscillation analyses in fully metallic flat-plate pulsating heat pipes can be effectively adopted to other flat-plate layouts without any need for transparent windows, thus reducing the overall complexity of experimental set-ups and providing, at the same time, a good insight into the inner fluid dynamics.

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