Development and Examination of an Internally Switchable Thermosiphon
Thermal switches contribute to efficient and safe thermal management of components and overall systems in various technical applications by actively controlling heat transfer in response to varying thermal loads and ambient conditions. Heat pipes are passive heat transfer devices constituting an integral part of various thermal management systems such as in spacecraft or consumer electronics thermal control. Heat pipes also form a promising approach for thermal switches due to their high effective thermal conductivity. In this paper, a wickless copper-water heat pipe based thermal switch with an electromagnetic linear actuator is presented. The magnetically actuated motion of a plunger integrated into the heat pipe affects the latent heat transport cycle leading to a switchable heat transfer. Thermal measurements conducted to determine the total thermal resistance of the heat pipe demonstrate the efficacy of the thermal switch. It was found that the thermal resistance of the heat pipe was increased by up to 53% in off state while the heat pipe performance in on state was not significantly affected by the integrated mechanism.