To theoretically study the feasibility of antifreeze coolants applied as cooling fluids for high power LD heat sink, detailed Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis of liquid cooled micro-channels heat sinks is presented. The performance operated with antifreeze coolant (ethylene glycol aqueous solution) compared with pure water are numerical calculated for the heat sinks with the same micro-channels structures. The maximum thermal resistance, total pressure loss (flow resistance), thermal resistance vs. flow-rate, and pressure loss vs. flow-rate etc. characteristics are numerical calculated.
The results indicate that the type and temperature of coolants plays an important role on the performance of heat sinks. The whole thermal resistance and pressure loss of heat sinks increase significantly with antifreeze coolants compared with pure water mainly due to its relatively lower thermal conductivity and higher fluid viscosity. The thermal resistance and pressure loss are functions of the flow rate and operation temperature.
Increasing of the coolant flow rate can reduce the thermal resistance of heat sinks; meanwhile increase the pressure loss significantly. The thermal resistance tends to a limit with increasing flow rate, while the pressure loss tends to increase exponentially with increasing flow rate. Low operation temperature chiefly increases the pressure loss rather than thermal resistance due to the remarkable increasing of fluid viscosity.
The actual working point of the cooling circulation system can be determined on the basis of the pressure drop vs. flow rate curve for the micro-channel heat sink and that for the circulation system. In the same system, if the type or/and temperature of the coolant is changed, the working point is accordingly influenced, that is, working flow rate and pressure is changed simultaneously, due to which the heat sink performance is influenced. According to the numerical simulation results, if ethylene glycol aqueous solution is applied instead of pure water as the coolant under the same or a higher working temperature, the available output of optical power will decrease due to the worse heat sink performance; if applied under a lower working temperature(0 °C, －20 °C), although the heat sink performance become worse, however the temperature difference of heat transfer rises more significantly, the available output of optical power will increase on the contrary.