The present study explores experimentally the two-phase flow instability in a microchannel heat sink with 15 parallel microchannels. The hydraulic diameter for each channel is 86.3μm. Flow boiling in the present microchannel heat sink demonstrates significantly different two-phase flow patterns under stable or unstable conditions. For the stable cases bubble nucleation, slug flow and slug or annular flows appear sequentially in the flow direction. On the other hand, forward or reversed slug/annular flows appear alternatively in every channel. Moreover, the length of bubble slug may oscillate for unstable cases with reversed flow demonstrating the suppressing effect of pressure field for bubble growth. It is found that the magnitude of pressure drop oscillations may be used as an index for the appearance of reversed flow. A stability map on the plane of inlet subcooling number versus phase change number is established. A very narrow region for stable two-phase flow or mild two-phase flow oscillations is present near the line of zero exit quality.
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