Flow boiling in microchannels has been attractive for cooling of high power electronics. However, the flow instability hinders the heat transfer performance such as the premature initiation of the critical heat flux (CHF) and could result in device burnout. Numerous methods have been implemented to suppress the instability of flow boiling, including integrating micro pin fins in the channels [1] and inlet restrictors [2], as well as fabricating microchannels with variable cross-sectional areas [3]. Recently, Li et al [4] and Chen et al [5] explored the pool boiling enhancement using nanowires, which shows much more uniform bubble generation and a higher heat transfer coefficient and critical heat flux compared to plain surfaces. The work presented here is the very first effort to explor the impacts of nanowire coating on the flow boiling performance in parallel microchannels. We present here a monolithic integration process to fabricate silicon micro-channels coated with silicon nanowires and the flow boiling characterization of the microchannels. By comparing the flow boiling curves in the microchannels with and without nanowire coating, we show significant performance enhancement for a nanowire-coated microchannel, such as earlier ONB (onset of nucleate boiling), delayed OFO (onset of flow oscillation), enhanced HTC (heat transfer coefficient) and suppressed flow instability.

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