Characterization of active cooling and flow distribution in microvascular polymers

Brian D. Kozola, Lyle A. Shipton, Vinay K. Natrajan, Kenneth T. Christensen, Scott R. White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Two- and three-dimensional microvascular networks embedded within a polymer fin were fabricated via direct write assembly to demonstrate cooling potential of vascular polymer structures. Thin fin cooling experiments were carried out utilizing water and polyalphaolefin (PAO) oil-based coolant as the working fluids. The surface temperature of the fin was monitored using an infrared camera and flow distribution within the network was evaluated by microscopic particle image velocimetry. The effective heat transfer coefficient was increased 53-fold at low Reynolds number for water cooling in both 2D and 3D geometries. However, 3D architectures offer more uniform flow distribution and the ability to efficiently adapt to blockages and reroute flow within the network. Microvascular materials are excellent candidates for compact, efficient cooling platforms for a variety of applications and 3D architectures offer unique performance enhancements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1147-1156
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Intelligent Material Systems and Structures
Issue number12
StatePublished - Aug 2010


  • autonomic structures
  • convective heat transfer
  • infrared imaging
  • microfluidics
  • microvascular networks
  • particle image velocimetry
  • polymers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanical Engineering

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