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Using Manifold Microchannel Coolers to Reduce the Power Electronics Thermal Stack
Keywords: manifold microchannel, thermal resistance, heat sink
This research presents the analysis and realization of a single phase high performance manifold microchannel cooler for improving the thermal and hydrodynamic performance of a multi-chip power electronic module. This heat exchanger, microfabricated directly into the substrate, enables higher power density electronic products by more efficiently removing the high levels of heat generated. The improved thermal performance and efficiency of the heat exchanger is demonstrated using both numerical and experimental techniques. The improved heat removal is due to the reduction in the number of packaging layers between the device and the heat exchanger and by improvement in convective heat transfer. In addition, the efficiency of the device is enhanced by minimizing fluid pressure drop through the use of large manifold channels to transport fluid to the cooling area and smaller crossover microchannels in the active cooling area. This combination of channels also improves the uniformity of the temperature distribution across the device. The manifold microchannel coolers were fabricated and tested both with and without electrical isolation between the chip and the coolant. Experimentally, the coolers without electrical isolation demonstrated thermal resistivity values as low as 0.06 K/(W/cm2), which is up to a 50X improvement over a standard power package with significant size and weight reduction. The coolers with an incorporated aluminum nitride electrical isolation layer experimentally demonstrated up to a 15X improvement.
Lauren Boteler, Mechanical Engineer
Army Research Laboratory
Adelphi, MD
USA


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