Mathematical modeling of steady-state operation of a loop heat pipe

Lizhan Bai, Guiping Lin, Hongxing Zhang, Dongsheng Wen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


A steady-state mathematical model of a loop heat pipe is established and compared with experimental results in this work. The modeling of the evaporator wick includes not only the single-layer wick, but also the two-layer compound wick. The annular flow model is adopted in the modeling of the condenser, in which the effect of surface tension of liquid and the interaction between the liquid and vapor phases including both frictional and momentum-transfer shear stresses are considered. The model can predict the decreasing length of the condenser two-phase zone under the constant conductance mode caused by the volume expansion of the liquid in the compensation chamber, and is in good agreement with the experimental data. It also shows that the application of the two-layer compound wick can improve the performance of the loop heat pipe operating under the variable conductance mode, due to the reduction of heat leak from the evaporator to the compensation chamber. A parametric study of the effect of heat sink temperature, ambient temperature, adverse elevation, and working fluid inventory on the operating temperatures of the loop heat pipe is also conducted, which further contributes to the understanding of the steady-state operating characteristics of loop heat pipes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2643-2654
Number of pages12
JournalApplied Thermal Engineering
Issue number13
StatePublished - Sep 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Constant conductance
  • Loop heat pipe
  • Mathematical modeling
  • Operating characteristics
  • Variable conductance


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