Micromachines 2012, 3(1), 10-20; doi:10.3390/mi3010010

Switchable Thermal Interfaces Based on Discrete Liquid Droplets

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Received: 5 December 2011; in revised form: 22 December 2011 / Accepted: 22 December 2011 / Published: 6 January 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thermal Switches and Control of Heat Transfer in MEMS)
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Abstract: We present a switchable thermal interface based on an array of discrete liquid droplets initially confined on hydrophilic islands on a substrate. The droplets undergo reversible morphological transition into a continuous liquid film when they are mechanically compressed by an opposing substrate to create low-thermal resistance heat conduction path. We investigate a criterion for reversible switching in terms of hydrophilic pattern size and liquid volume. The dependence of the liquid morphology and rupture distance on the diameter and areal fraction of hydrophilic islands, liquid volumes, as well as loading pressure is also characterized both theoretically and experimentally. The thermal resistance in the on-state is experimentally characterized for ionic liquids, which are promising for practical applications due to their negligible vapor pressure. A life testing setup is constructed to evaluate the reliability of the interface under continued switching conditions at relatively high switching frequencies.
Keywords: switchable thermal interface; reversibility; liquid morphology; thermal resistance; reliability
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MDPI and ACS Style

Jia, Y.; Cha, G.; Ju, Y.S. Switchable Thermal Interfaces Based on Discrete Liquid Droplets. Micromachines 2012, 3, 10-20.

AMA Style

Jia Y, Cha G, Ju YS. Switchable Thermal Interfaces Based on Discrete Liquid Droplets. Micromachines. 2012; 3(1):10-20.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Jia, Yanbing; Cha, Gilhwan; Ju, Yongho Sungtaek. 2012. "Switchable Thermal Interfaces Based on Discrete Liquid Droplets." Micromachines 3, no. 1: 10-20.

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