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Development of two-phase thermal solutions for flexible electronics


Doctoral College

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Dr N Miche , Prof M Marengo No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

The project is supported by the currently on-going European Space Agency sponsored Microgravity Application Programme TOPDESS (Two-phase passive thermal devices for deployable space systems) involving a consortium of European Universities and Industrial partners. The investigation will be based on experimental characterisation of the flow and heat transfer of flexible pulsating heat pipes for space and ground applications, such as deployable thermal control systems or foldable portable electronics. Fundamental challenges for Pulsating Heat Pipes due to the complex two-phase fluid phenomena and heat and mass transport under varying geometries and gravitational fields will form the base of the investigation. Development, manufacturing and implementation of experimental breadboards and rigs will be involved, together with measurement and data analysis using an array of thermofluid measurement techniques such as high-speed visual spectrum and infrared photography, pressure and temperature logging. The scholarship is of 3 year duration.

Indicative project plan:
Months 0-5: The project will start with a period of familiarisation with the main topics and laboratory environment/techniques. This will be taking place through literature surveys in order to understand the state of the art in the primary topics of the project, such as thermal management systems for satellites and portable electronics, heat pipes and pulsating heat pipes design, flow and heat transfer and materials engineering for application to foldable pulsating heat pipes. In parallel, induction to laboratory equipment and manufacturing workshops will be taking place, with application through a variety of mini side projects. Deliverable 1: Literature survey.

Months 6-14: Design definition of a 1st generation pulsating heat pipe based foldable electronics thermal management system: Thermal & geometrical preliminary design, materials and manufacturing process, bread board prototyping, thermal and fluid flow characterisation (ground). Deliverable 2: Initial design and thermo-hydraulic performance report.

Months 15-23: Design of 2nd generation system from review of initial tests. Breadboard prototyping. Thermo-hydraulic characterisation (ground and variable g levels). Deliverable 3: Thermo-hydraulic performance report and recommendations for design/manufacturing, research publication (conference).

Months 24-31: Development of mathematical models from experimental results and contribution to improvement of existing pulsating heat pipe design and numerical simulation tools. Deliverable 4: Research publication (journal).

Months 32-35: Thesis write-up

Funding Notes

The studentship is jointly funded by the School of Computing, Engineering& Mathematics and ESA MAP TOPDESS project and will cover tuition fees at the standard postgraduate home/EU plus an annual maintenance stipend at the UKRI rate.

Due to the post’s funding it is only open to home or EU applicants as defined by the Fees Regulations.


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