Abstract

High porosity metal foams offer large surface area per unit volume and have been considered as effective candidates for convection heat transfer enhancement, with applications as heat sinks in electronics cooling. In this paper, the research progress in thermo-hydraulic performance characterization of metal foams and their application as heat sinks for electronics cooling are reviewed. We focus on natural convection, forced convection, flow boiling, and solid/liquid phase change using phase change materials (PCMs). Under these heat transfer conditions, the effects of various parameters influencing the performance of metal foam heat sink are discussed. It is concluded that metal foams demonstrate promising capability for heat transfer augmentation, but some key issues still need to be investigated regarding the fundamental mechanisms of heat transfer to enable the development of more efficient and compact heat sinks.

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