top of page

An Experimental Investigation Of Local Thermo-Fluidic Heat Transfer In A U-Shaped Mini-Channel Sink

Giorgio Moscato, Giovanni Paolo Romano

Università Sapienza di Roma, Roma, Italy


This study investigates experimentally a heated U-shaped mini-channel heat sink using Infrared Thermography and Particle Image Velocimetry for a water coolant flow of Reynolds numbers of 280, 650, and 1350 (based on the hydraulic channel diameter). The choice of this cell geometry is based on its role as a simplified unit of a serpentine heat exchanger, which is proved to be one of the most promising for cooling processes. The use of the infrared camera allows the detection of temperature fields on top of the external surface of the cell. Therefore, aiming to derive the temperature distribution on the channel roof, a dedicated transfer function is implemented. Moreover, we employed the lumped capacitance model for thermal analysis on both infrared measurements and thermocouple data. The latter are recorded to capture the cooling process of the aluminium base and water temperature at the end of the outlet tube. As a result, thermal transient rate, cooling magnitude and equilibrium temperature are obtained. These parameters indicate that higher Reynolds numbers correspond to increased thermal transient rates, enhanced cooling effects, and lower equilibrium temperatures. A non-uniform distribution of heat transfer along the channel is reported, with the most efficient cooling area localised close to the first 90-degree corner. These findings are consistent with numerical simulations and previous experimental observations. PIV results reveal the presence of two fluid acceleration zones following both 90-degree corners, which contribute to improve the water cooling ability in their respective regions. Additionally, the formation of two recirculating bubbles is reported at the inner wall from corners vertices, whose intensity is dependent on Reynolds number, pushing the main flow towards the outer channel wall and reducing the local heat transfer. Turbulent kinetic energy distributions are also investigated, pointing out the presence of intense areas that better match with regions of minimum equilibrium temperature than maximum velocity zones. This suggests the presence of local turbulent unsteadiness and three-dimensional phenomena, which contributes significantly to cooling enhancement.

bottom of page