Thermal management with self-rewetting fluids

Yoshiyuki Abe, Akira Iwaski, Kotaro Tanaka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


The present paper describes the results of a series of microgravity experiments on thermal management device, actually wickless heat pipes, with using the so-called "self-rewetting fluids" (dilute aqueous solutions of high carbon alcohols) as a working fluid. Although most of liquids show a decrease in the surface tension with increasing temperature, self-rewetting fluids show exceptionally an increase in the surface tension with increasing temperature. This particular characteristic allows for a spontaneous liquid supply to hotter interface by the thermocapillary flow. When liquid/vapor phase change takes place, furthermore, additional Marangoni effect due to concentration gradient by the preferential evaporation of alcohol-rich composition in the aqueous solutions is induced. A considerably strong liquid inflow to dry patch or thin film is therefore expected at three-phase interline or liquid/vapor interface. One of the most promising applications of the self-rewetting fluids in space is wickless heat pipes in which condensate spontaneously returns to evaporation region by enhanced Marangoni effect. Demonstrational experiments on the fluid behavior in a transparent glass tube wickless heat pipe were conducted in JAMIC, and spontaneous liquid return velocities were measured. The present authors then performed parabolic flight experiments on heat transfer characteristics of prototype wickless copper heat pipes, and the performance was compared with ordinary heat pipe having wick structure and with other working fluid.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148-152
Number of pages5
JournalMicrogravity Science and Technology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Jan 1
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Applied Mathematics


Dive into the research topics of 'Thermal management with self-rewetting fluids'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this