In this paper, we present an experimental study on measurement of the thermal conductivity and heat pipe effect in both hydrophilic and hydrophobic (Toray TGP-H60) carbon papers (around 200 μm thickness) with/out liquid water. An experimental setup is developed for measuring thermal conductance at different liquid water contents and temperatures without dissembling the testing device for water addition. Theoretical analysis is also performed to evaluate the apparent conductance of heat pipe effect. We found that liquid water presence inside these materials increases the overall thermal conductivity. At high temperature around 80 °C, the heat pipe effect is evident for the hydrophilic paper; while for the hydrophobic one, the heat pipe effect is found to be smaller. The distinction is likely due to the different patterns of the capillary liquid flow in the two media. For the hydrophobic paper, liquid water flows back to the evaporation side when the breakthrough pressure is reached and flow is through preferred routes of small flow resistance. As a result, heat pipe effect is active only in part of the medium, therefore smaller than that in the hydrophilic one. The results are important for understanding the heat transfer phenomena occurring in porous media and effects of material surface property. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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