Experimental characterization of novel microdiffuser elements

  • Ehrlich L.
  • Jeffers N.
  • Punch J.
  • Stafford J.

Micropumps can play a significant role in thermal management applications, as a component of microfluidic cooling systems. For next-generation high density optical communication systems, in particular, heat flux levels are sufficiently high to require a microfluidic circuit for cooling. Valveless piezoelectrically-actuated micropumps are a particularly promising technology to be deployed for this application. These pumps exploit the asymmetric flow behaviour of microdiffusers to achieve net flow. They feature no rotating or contacting parts, which make them intrinsically reliable in comparison to micropumps with active valves. In this paper, two novel microdiffuser elements are reported and characterized. The micropumps were fabricated using a 3D Printer. Each single diffuser had a length of 1800 μm and a depth of 400 μm. An experimental characterization was conducted in which the flow rate and differential pressure were measured as a function of operating frequency. In comparison with standard diffuser, both elements showed an increase in differential pressure in the range of 40 – 280 %, but only one of the elements exhibited an improved flow rate, of about 85 %.

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