Heat Pipes

Variable and Fixed Conductance Heat Pipes

Heatpie for Electronics CoolingCRTech's tools have been validated many times for the modeling of constant conductance (CCHP or FCHP) and variable conductance heat pipes (VCHP), along with other specialized pipes such as diode heatpipes. The methods used are fully capable of accurately capturing the effects of a heat pipe on the host system without allowing the model to get bogged down in the hydrodynamics internal to the heat pipe. These methods have been considered an industry standard since the 1970 and have been validated many times over.

How Not to Model a Heat Pipe

A common “trick” is to model a heat pipe as a bar of highly conductive material. However, that method has many drawbacks.

  • It does not simulate a heat pipe’s length-independent resistance
  • It does no account for differences in film coefficients between vaporization and condensation
  • It can be disruptive to numerical solutions an potentially cause instabilities in a model
  • It does not provide information on power-length product (QLeff) for comparison against vendor-supplied heat pipe capacity
  • It cannot be extended to include the effects of noncondensible gas (NCG)

Another misconception is that heat pipes, being two-phase capillary devices, require detailed two-phase thermohydraulic solutions. While methods exist to model such details, such an approach would represent computational overkill in almost all cases: even heat pipe vendors use simpler calculations when designing heat pipes.

How to Model a Heat PipePostprocessed model of a vapor blocked VCHP

Heat pipe routines built into SINDA/FLUINT provide fast system-level solutions to modeling heat pipes when a full two-phase solution is not required. Both constant conductance (CCHP, also called FCHP), with or without noncondensible gas (NCG), and variable conductance (VCHP) pipes can easily be simulated. These routines were written specifically to co-solve wall temperatures and gas-front locations, resulting in a more robust tool. The methods used in the built-in subroutines are based on the following recommended modeling methods.

Download a brief explanation on heat pipes are modeled in CRTech products.

FloCAD®, a Thermal Desktop® module, provides a unique tool for modeling heat pipes within a CAD based environment. Complex geometries and large networks of heat pipes, can easily be generated.

Features for Modeling Heat PipesChart showing NCG Effects on a CCHP

  • Constant (fixed) conductance heat pipes (CCHP, FCHP) and vapor chamber fins
    • 1D or 2D thermal model (axial, axial and circumferential, rectangular)
    • Distinct vaporization and condensation coefficients for grooved designs
    • Prediction of QLeff (power-length product)
    • Optional inclusion of noncondensible gas (NCG) degradation
    • Fast and easy geometric model generation using FloCAD, including bonding or contact to thermal surfaces and solids and even to other heat pipes
  • Additional features for variable conductance heatpipes (VCHP)
    • Choose working fluid from library or define a new fluid
    • Perfect gas or real gas descriptions for control gas
    • Fast and stable 1D (flat front) gas blocking algorithm
    • Warnings for erroneous designs, gas charges, environments

Sample Applications

  • Deployable two-phase radiator systems for aerospace applications
  • Electronic cooling systems
  • De-icing applications
  • Isothermal furnace liners
  • Heatpipe heat exchangers

Supporting Resources

A free online webinar on this topic is available: Modeling Heatpipes in FloCAD



FloCAD online training

Class times: May 2 & 4 from 10am to 2pm MT

Cost: $425

This online class will provide an introduction to fluid modeling components within FloCAD. The class will be held over a 2-day period, with daily sessions running approximately 4 hours each. The class uses a mixture of lecture, demonstrations, and self-paced tutorials to allow attendees to practice building fluid system models and interpreting results. The presentations will comprise 2 - 3 hours of each session, and the instructor will be available during the remainder of the time for questions during tutorials. Attendees must have basic working knowledge of SINDA and Thermal Desktop as these topics will not be covered but their usage is required for FloCAD.

Register here

Thermal Desktop, RadCAD, and TD Direct in-class training

Date: April 25-28, 2017, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., daily
Location: Lakewood, CO

CRTech will be hosting introductory training for Thermal Desktop, RadCAD and TD Direct. Lecture and hands-on tutorials introduce attendees to basic Thermal Desktop and RadCAD usage and allow practice building models and interpreting results. The class will also introduce students to SpaceClaim direct modeling CAD interface and advanced meshing tools in TD Direct.

Daily Schedule

Day 1 and 2: Introduction to SINDA and Thermal Desktop
Day 3: Introduction to RadCAD
Day 4: Introduction to TD Direct

To learn more about this class and to register, visit our Training Page.

Anode and cathode of a flow battery

Using Sinaps? It is not too soon to get started with TD/FloCAD!

This webinar describes the process for converting from Sinaps to Thermal Desktop (TD) and FloCAD. This process includes using an exporter which works with Version 6.0 of the CRTech tool suite (expected to be released in May of 2017).

Come learn about the basics of TD/FloCAD, including many compelling features not available in Sinaps. The webinar will also cover how to manage the transition period, during which you may be using both programs simultaneously. This is also a chance to ask questions. 

If you missed this webinar, please contact us for the presentation material and recording.