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A Performance-Enhanced Liquid Metal-Based Microheater with Parallel Ventilating Side-Channels

Key Laboratory of Cryogenics, Technical Institute of Physics and Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 29 Zhongguancun East Road, Haidian District, Beijing 100190, China
School of Future Technology, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100039, China
Information Science Academy, China Electronics Technology Group Corporation, Beijing 100086, China
Energy Storage and Novel Technology of Electrical Engineering Department, China Electric Power Research Institute, Beijing 100192, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Micromachines 2020, 11(2), 133;
Received: 26 December 2019 / Revised: 15 January 2020 / Accepted: 20 January 2020 / Published: 24 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micro Process-Devices)
Gallium-based liquid metal can be used as a material for microheaters because it can be easily filled into microchannels and electrified to generate Joule heat, but the liquid metal-based microheater will suffer breakage induced by voids forming within the liquid metal when the temperature normally gets higher than 100 °C. To resolve this problem, a novel liquid metal-based microheater with parallel ventilating side-channels is presented. It consists of a liquid-metal heating channel and two parallel ventilating side-channels. The heating channel is connected with the side-channels by small gaps between polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) posts. Experimental results show that this novel microheater can be heated up to 200 °C without damage. To explain its excellent performance, an experiment is performed to discover the development of the voids within the liquid-metal heating channel, and two reasons are put forward in this work on the basis of the experiment. Afterward pressing and bending tests are conducted to explore the mechanical stability of the novel microheaters. Finally, the microheaters are applied to warm water to show their good flexibility on non-flat surfaces. In consequence, the novel liquid metal-based microheater is believed to be widely applicable to soft micro-electro-mechanical system(MEMS) heating devices.
Keywords: liquid metal-based microheaters; ventilating side-channels; voids; trapped air liquid metal-based microheaters; ventilating side-channels; voids; trapped air
MDPI and ACS Style

Zhang, L.; Zhang, P.; Wang, R.; Zhang, R.; Li, Z.; Liu, W.; Wang, Q.; Gao, M.; Gui, L. A Performance-Enhanced Liquid Metal-Based Microheater with Parallel Ventilating Side-Channels. Micromachines 2020, 11, 133.

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