Development of Micro/Nano-Scale Sensors for Investigation of Heat Transfer in Multi-Phase Flows



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The objective of this investigation was to develop micro/nano-scale temperature sensors for measuring surface temperature transients in multi-phase flows and heat transfer. Surface temperature fluctuations were measured on substrates exposed to phase change processes. Prior reports in the literature indicate that these miniature scale surface temperature fluctuations can result in 60-90 percent of the total heat flux during phase change heat transfer.

In this study, DTS (Diode Temperature Sensors) were fabricated with a doping depth of ~100 nm on n-type silicon to measure the surface temperature transients on a substrate exposed to droplet impingement cooling. DTS are expected to have better sensor characteristics compared to TFTs (Thin Film Thermocouples), due to their small size and faster response (which comes at the expense of the smaller operating temperature range). Additional advantages of DTS include the availability of robust commercial micro fabrication processes (with diode and transistor node sizes currently in the size range of ~ 30 nm), and that only 2N wire leads can be used to interrogate a set of N x N array of sensors (in contrast thermocouples require 2 N x N wire leads for N x N sensor array).

The DTS array was fabricated using conventional semi-conductor processes. The temperature response of the TFT and DTS was also calibrated using NIST standards. Transient temperature response of the DTS was recorded using droplet impingement cooling experiments. The droplet impingement cooling experiments were performed for two different test fluids (acetone and ethanol). An infrared camera was used to verify the surface temperature of the substrate and compare these measurements with the temperature values recorded by individual DTS.

PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) was used for obtaining the catalyst coatings for subsequent CNT synthesis using CVD (Chemical Vapor Deposition) as well as for fabricating the thin film thermocouple (TFT) arrays using the "lift-off" process. Flow boiling experiments were conducted for three different substrates. Flow boiling experiments on bare silicon wafer surface were treated as the control experiment, and the results were compared with that of CNT (Carbon Nano-Tube) coated silicon wafer surfaces. Similar experiments were also performed on a pure copper surface. In addition, experiments were performed using compact condensers. Micro-scale patterns fabricated on the refrigerant side of the compact heat exchanger were observed to cause significant enhancement of the condensation heat transfer coefficient.