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Thermal modeling of a microheater in a microchannel chip
conference contributionposted on 2006-01-01, 00:00 authored by Y Zhu, A Bui, H Jin, Saeid Nahavandi, E C Harvey, I D Sutalo
Integration of microheaters in microfluidic systems has a wide range of applications such as sensing, actuating and biomedical devices. This study focused on the investigation of the thermal performance of a nickel microheater fabricated on a printed circuit board using a LIGA process. Both experimental and computational methods were used in conjunction with preliminary theoretical analysis. The microheater was tested both in air and water. The temperature distributions of the microheater were measured by an advanced thermography system. The numerical study was carried out using the multiphysics CFD package CFD-Ace+. The temperature of the microheater increased approximately linearly with the input power for the experimental conditions. The microheater heated up exponentially at the start of power supply. At a supply of 120mA electrical current, the microheater could heat up at a rate of around 90°C/s. During the cooling stage, the rate was much higher and could reach 800°C/s. When placed in the microchannel with air flow, the heater could heat the flow effectively without causing significant increase in the chip temperature. The CFD results were validated by comparing temperature distributions on the chip surface and on the heater surface. The validated CFD results allowed more detailed investigations of thermal and fluid flow within the microchannel and the whole chip.