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Micromachines 2012, 3(1), 10-20;

Switchable Thermal Interfaces Based on Discrete Liquid Droplets

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1597, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 December 2011 / Revised: 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)
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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. View Full-Text
Keywords: switchable thermal interface; reversibility; liquid morphology; thermal resistance; reliability switchable thermal interface; reversibility; liquid morphology; thermal resistance; reliability

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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

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