The efficiency of conventional heat exchangers is restricted by many factors, such as effectiveness of convective heat transfer and the cost of their operation. The current research deals with these issues by developing a novel method for building a lower-cost yet more efficient heat sink. This method involves using a specially designed curved microchannel to utilise the enhanced fluid mixing characteristics of Dean vortices, and thus transferring heat efficiently.
Numerical models have been employed to investigate the heat transfer enhancement of curved channels over straight equivalents, with the aim of optimising the heat exchanger design based on the parameters of maximising heat transfer whilst minimising pressure drop and unit cost. A range of cross-sectional geometries for the curved channels were compared, showing significantly higher Nusselt Numbers than equivalent straight channels throughout, and finding superior performance factors for square, circular and symmetrical trapezoidal profiles. Due the difficulty and expense in manufacturing circular microchannels, the relatively simple to fabricate square and symmetrical trapezoidal channels are put forward as the most advantageous designs. These results take into account both constant wall temperature and constant heat flux conditions. For a given set of channel dimensions, an optimal input flow rate condition is also determined.