The Two-Phase Heat Transfer group is headed by Dr. G. P. "Bud" Peterson, and currently includes five individuals conducting research in the area of Two-Phase Heat Transfer. Historically, the extremely high thermal conductivity of phase change devices gave rise to the name "Super Conductor" and was originally applied to heat pipes. The low thermal resistance associated with phase change devices allows large amounts of heat to be transported with very small temperature gradients. This is quite readily seen by comparing the temperature gradients encountered when heating rods composed of pure aluminum and copper to a heat pipe of the same geometry. Until now, most heat dissipation needs have been met by simple thermal management systems incorporating the sensible heating of the working fluid through forced or natural convection. In the electronics and spacecraft industries, the ever increasing speed, size and power requirements of modern devices have surpassed thermal management technology currently in use. Phase change devices represent an alternative thermal management method, because of the ability to absorb high heat fluxes at very low and uniform temperatures. In the past, applications of two phase heat transfer have included electronics, sattelites, manned spacecrafts, energy recovery, imaging systems, paper processing, surgical procedures, and valve stems in internal combustion engines.


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