Design of redundant microvascular cooling networks for blockage tolerance

Stephen J. Pety, Marcus Hwai Yik Tan, Ahmad R. Najafi, Anthony C. Gendusa, Philip R. Barnett, Philippe H. Geubelle, Scott R. White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Microvascular networks can provide host materials with many functions including self-healing and active cooling. However, vascular networks are susceptible to blockage which can dramatically reduce their functional performance. A novel optimization scheme is presented to design networks that provide sufficient cooling capacity even when partially blocked. Microvascular polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) panels subject to a 2000 W m−2 applied heat flux and 28.2 mL min−1 coolant flow rate are simulated using dimensionally reduced thermal and hydraulic models and an interface-enriched generalized finite element method (IGFEM). Channel networks are optimized to minimize panel temperature while the channels are either clear (the O0 scheme), subject to the single worst-case blockage (O1), or subject to two worst-case blockages (O2). Designs are optimized with nodal degree (a measure of redundancy) ranging from 2 to 6. The results show that blockage tolerance is greatly enhanced for panels optimized while considering blockages and for panels with higher nodal degree. For example, the 6-degree O1 design only has a temperature rise of 7 °C when a single channel is blocked, compared to a 35 °C rise for the 2-degree O0 design. Thermography experiments on PDMS panels validate the IGFEM solver and the blockage tolerance of optimized panels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)965-976
Number of pages12
JournalApplied Thermal Engineering
StatePublished - Feb 25 2018


  • Blockage tolerance
  • Microvascular composites
  • Optimization
  • Redundancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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