ROCKLEDGE, FL – July 1, 2009 – Mainstream Engineering Corporation, a leading research and development company specializing in advanced thermal control and energy conversion, has been awarded a contract from the U.S. Army to demonstrate a local hotspot cooling with a digital microfluidics device with enhanced nanostructures.
The U.S. Army wishes to incorporate an ultra high efficiency heat dissipation system for power inverters on off-road vehicles that can have locally very high heat fluxes. Mainstream will develop a digital microfluidics device to satisfy this need. This device will use electric fields to move droplets over surfaces hydrophobized by microstructures. The enhanced hydrophobized surface reduces drag and therefore increases the heat removal rate and decreases the voltage required for motion. This novel approach produces a cooling system that does not have a pump or compressor needed to drive a working fluid, and thus the thermal efficiency can be extremely high for this device.
Previous experimental and thin films fabrication techniques will be employed to first establish the operational limits of the devices, including the droplet motion onset voltage, the droplet speed, and the effective heat transfer rate to the droplets. A prototype system will be made and simulated with the same heat loads as those found on power inverters for off-road military vehicles.