A review of small heat pipes for electronics

Xianping Chen, H Ye, Xuejun Fan, Tianling Ren, Guo Qi Zhang

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143 Citations (Scopus)
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Heat pipes (HPs) have received considerable attention in recent decades, especially in the field of cooling electronics, which requires the removal of added heat from an area of limited volume to the environment. Small HPs are widely used in electronic applications, which are normally limited by the compact structure and dimensions of the electronic device. Among small HPs, mini/micro HPs and two-phase loops (TPLs) with mini/micro wicks, including loop HPs (LHPs) and capillary pumped loops (CPLs), are preferred for their high efficiency, small dimensions, and compatible process with semiconductor devices. Particularly, TPLs possess all of the main advantages of traditional HPs with the addition of special properties that enable the transfer of heat for distances up to several metres at any orientation in the gravity field. Further, small vapour chambers (VCs), also referred to as flat HPs, are excellent candidates for electronic heat spreaders due to their light weight, geometric flexibility, and extremely high thermal conductivities. Because silicon is widely used in electronics, it is a preferred material for mini/micro HPs along with TPLs. Moreover, polymer-based small HPs are highly attractive for further development as they are inexpensive and easy to fabricate. Because the smaller wicks supply a greater capillary force, nano wicks, such as carbon nanotubes (CNTs), may represent the future of HPs due to their potentially outstanding characteristics. In this work, a review of small HPs, including their design, analysis, and fabrication, is presented.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalApplied Thermal Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Accepted author manuscript


  • Small heat pipes
  • Electronic cooling
  • Micro wicks
  • Nano wicks


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