A mathematical model is developed for predicting the thermal performance of a flat micro heat pipe with a rectangular grooved wick structure. The effects of the liquid-vapor interfacial shear stress, the contact angle, and the amount of liquid charge are accounted for in the present model. In particular, the axial variations of the wall temperature and the evaporation and condensation rates are considered by solving the one-dimensional conduction equation for the wall and the augmented Young-Laplace equation, respectively. The results obtained from the proposed model are in close agreement with several existing experimental data in terms of the wall temperatures and the maximum heat transport rate. From the validated model, it is found that the assumptions employed in previous studies may lead to significant errors for predicting the thermal performance of the heat pipe. Finally, the maximum heat transport rate of a micro heat pipe with a grooved wick structure is optimized with respect to the width and the height of the groove by using the proposed model. The maximum heat transport rate for the optimum conditions is enhanced by approximately 20% compared to existing experimental results. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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