Micro-manufacturing of micro-scale porous surface structures for enhanced heat transfer applications: an experimental process optimization study

Cora O. N., Usta Y., Koç M.

JOURNAL OF MICROMECHANICS AND MICROENGINEERING, vol.19, no.4, 2009 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier


Integrated and compact products necessitate the use of advanced thermal management systems with reduced footprint and cost as well as increased efficiency. Micro-scale, porous and modulated (i.e. channels, pyramids, etc) surfaces offer increased surface area for a given volume and lead to two-phase heat transfer conditions with efficiency enhancements up to 300%. Such surfaces made of copper powders were demonstrated to be quite effective by several researchers after they were produced in controlled lab environments. Similar surfaces made of high temperature resistant materials such as stainless steel, nickel and titanium can also be used in fuel processor, SOFC and PEM fuel cell applications as bipolar/interconnect plates. However, their fabrication under mass-production conditions for marketable and cost-effective products requires well-established process parameters. In this study, warm compaction of copper powders onto thin copper solid substrates was experimented with under different compaction pressure (15-50 MPa), temperature (350-500 degrees C) and surface geometry (flat, large and small channeled) parameters using a design of experiment (DOE) approach to determine the proper process conditions. Porosity and bonding strength of compacted samples were measured to characterize their feasibility for compact and/or micro-scale heat/mass transfer applications. Results showed that a minimum 350 degrees C temperature and 15 MPa pressure level is necessary to obtain sound porous and micro-channeled surface layers. It was also found that at higher pressure levels (50 MPa), fabrication of micro-scale surface structures is highly repeatable with enhanced bonding strength characteristics. DOE findings will be used to establish proper process conditions to produce such porous surfaces using a continuous roll compaction process in the future.