Enhanced flow boiling in silicon nanowire-coated manifold microchannels

Sheng Wang, Hsiu Hung Chen, Chung-Lung Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


An experimental study was carried out to investigate the heat transfer, pressure drop and flow instability characteristics associated with the flow pattern of deionized water during two-phase boiling in a silicon-based manifold microchannel heat sink coated with silicon nanowires (SiNWs) compared to a plain-wall device. The manifold microchannel device featured parallel transverse microchannels etched on a silicon substrate and longitudinal microchannels etched on a glass cover plate. Silicon nanowires were generated on the bottom and the sidewalls of the silicon microchannels. A closed-loop experimental system was constructed to demonstrate thermal and hydraulic performance. Experimental results were presented with mass fluxes ranging from 250 to 1250 kg/m2 s and subcooled inlet temperatures from 15 K to 65 K. Results for the SiNWs device showed an approximate 20% improvement in heat flux rejection compared to the plain-wall device under the same wall superheat conditions. A subcooled inlet temperature of 65 K associated with a mass flux of 1250 kg/m2 s is shown to be capable of dissipating an effective heat flux of 431.3 W/cm2 with a wall superheat of about 85 K. Overall, the SiNW coatings proved positive effects on enhancing the flow boiling heat transfer with slower pressure drop increase, meanwhile the three-dimensional manifold microchannel design is revealed to effectively mitigate flow instability during the entire single and two-phase flow regions. This indicates great potential in utilizing three-dimensional flows by integrating SiNWs surface structures in high heat flux cooling applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1043-1057
Number of pages15
JournalApplied Thermal Engineering
StatePublished - 5 Feb 2019


  • Flow boiling
  • Manifold microchannel
  • Silicon nanowire
  • Two-phase


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