Switchable heat pipe
Dr. M V Rane of IIT Bombay’s, Department of Mechanical Engineering has developed improved heat pipes using a system for isolating the evaporator or condenser capable of transferring heat intermittently when desired based parameters of the system. It can be used for applications where a common evaporator is connected to multiple condensers and when all condensers are not operational at the same time. The system can further be used for applications where many evaporators are connected to a single condenser and heat is does not have to be extracted from all evaporators at the same time.
Heat pipes capable of controlling the heat transfer are known as switchable heat pipes, and are used in space technology, refrigeration, air-conditioning, and electronic cooling.
Various switching mechanisms which make use of valves, or heating/cooling elements that are complex in design and operation are known.
In the system developed at IITB the evaporator and condenser are connected to each other through flexible tube/hose. A single evaporator may be connected to multiple evaporators or vise versa by using Y shape flexible tubes. The design allows isolation of a particular condenser or evaporator when needed by simple pinching of the corresponding end of the flexible tube connected to them. Pinching of the tubes may be done using any mechanical means, hence offering control and greater flexibility.