This work is the product of an ongoing research project in the Faculty of Engineering and Environment of Northumbria University in collaboration with University of Liverpool and Thermacore of Ashington. This paper is a summary of the achievements at the midterm of the project. The main objective of the project is to develop an aluminium/ammonia heat pipe with a sintered wick structure. Currently available ammonia heat pipes mainly use extruded grooved aluminium tubes. There have been a small number of attempts of employing sintered steel or nickel wicks in steel tubes with ammonia as the working fluid  and  but this is the first paper to report on aluminium heat pipes with ammonia and a sintered wick structure. The main barrier is the difficulty of sintering aluminium powders to make sintered wicks. So far during this project promising sintered aluminium heat pipe samples have been manufactured using the Selective laser melting (SLM) technique with various wick characteristics. This new method has proved to be capable of producing very complicated wick structures with different thickness, porosity, permeability and pore sizes in different regions of a heat pipe in addition to the solid (nonporous) walls while the entire heat pipe including the end cap, wall, wick and the fill tube can be produced in a single process.
|Applied Thermal Engineering
|Published - 15 Apr 2013