Inside the container is a liquid under its own pressure, that enters the pores of the capillary material, wetting all internal surfaces. Applying heat at any point along the surface of the heat pipe causes the liquid at that point to boil and enter a vapor state. When that happens, the liquid picks up the latent heat of vaporization. The gas, which then has a higher pressure, moves inside the sealed container to a colder location where it condenses. Thus, the gas gives up the latent heat of vaporization and moves heat from the input to the output end of the heat pipe.
|Figure 1: Heat Flowing Through a Heat Pipe|
Heat pipes have an effective thermal conductivity many thousands of times that of copper. The heat transfer or transport capacity of a heat pipe is specified by its ” Axial Power Rating (APC)”. It is the energy moving axially along the pipe. The larger the heat pipe diameter, greater is the APR. Similarly, longer the heat pipe lesser is the APR. Heat pipes can be built in almost any size and shape.
Heat pipe has been, and is currently being, studied for a variety of applications, covering almost the entire spectrum of temperatures encountered in heat transfer processes. Heat pipes are used in a wide range of products like air-conditioners, refrigerators, heat exchangers, transistors, capacitors, etc. Heat pipes are also used in laptops to reduce the working temperature for better efficiency. Their application in the field of cryogenics is very significant, especially in the development of space technology. We shall now discuss a brief account of the various applications of heat pipe technology