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Published August 14, 2006 | public
Journal Article Open

Evaporative cooling in microfluidic channels


Evaporative cooling is an effective and energy efficient way to rapidly remove heat from a system. Specifically, evaporative cooling in microfluidic channels can provide a cost-effective solution for the cooling of electronic devices and chemical reactors. Here we present microfluidic devices fabricated by using soft-lithography techniques to form simple fluidic junctions between channels carrying refrigerant and channels carrying N2 gas. The effects of channel geometry and delivery pressure on the performance of refrigeration through vaporization of acetone, isopropyl alcohol, and ethyl ether were characterized. By varying gas inlet pressures, refrigerants, and angles of the microfluidic junctions, optimal cooling conditions were found. Refrigeration rates in excess of 40 °C/s were measured, and long lasting subzero cooling in the junction could be observed.

Additional Information

©2006 American Institute of Physics (Received 29 March 2006; accepted 19 June 2006; published online 18 August 2006) The authors would like to thank Alvaro Gomez for helping them realize the initial setup of the experiment, and Michael David Henry for thought provoking discussions. This project was supported by generous grants from the National Science Foundation Center for Nano-chemical-electrical Mechanical Manufacturing Systems (NSF-CEMMS) under DMI-0328162 and from the BOEING company under the Multifunctional NanoSystem Technologies program. Two of the authors (G.M. and A.R.) Contributed equally to this research.


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