Convective heat transfer by jet impingement cooling offers a suitable solution for these high heat flux applications. Compared to techniques that rely on bulk conduction in series with convection, direct liquid impingement reduces the thermal resistance between power device hot spots and the coolant. Although capable of highly efficient cooling, static impingement devices must be designed for the worst-case cooling requirements for a transient power profile, possibly resulting in a wasted hydraulic performance. Aircraft, highway vehicles, and heavy machinery fall into this category where a substantial factor of safety is required. This work proposes a method for improving power electronics reliability by limiting temperature fluctuations at reduced coolant pressure requirements during transient power cycling using a variable area jet. Single phase jet impingement cooling is implemented in an active control scheme using a variable diameter iris mechanism as the primary nozzle architecture. In addition to pressure drop and temperature control, the active nozzle structure introduces the ability to create pulsating jet flows to further enhance the heat transfer compared to fixed-geometry nozzles. The key underlying fluid mechanics characteristic of pulsating flows is the effect of disrupting the thermal boundary layer on the electrical device surface. By introducing a variable diameter jet, eddy formation can be fine-tuned for optimal boundary layer disruption. Using the definition of the Strouhal number, vortex shedding created by the non-steady jet flows is directly correlated with the resulting Nusselt number as a function of the iris kinematics. An experimental apparatus for jet impingement thermal-fluid testing is used to evaluate the Nusselt number versus Strouhal number for a parametric study of variable diameter iris configurations. The apparatus utilizes a voice coil actuator to achieve sine and square wave forms, varying amplitude of actuation, and varying mean of actuation. Finally, power cycling with a single emulated hot spot is performed to estimate the reliability increase as a result of maintaining constant junction temperatures with the active jet impingement scheme.

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