Mechanical Engineering ETDs

Publication Date



The design of heat pipes involves knowledge of phenomena such as surface tension forces, wick permeability, and fluid vaporization and condensation. Considerable variability in these phenomena has been observed in heat pipe experiments. Thus, a probabilistic design model for predicting heat pipe heat transfer rate has been developed taking into consideration uncertainty in the prediction of the above phenomena. The probabilistic model yields a mean, a standard deviation, and the distribution of heat transfer rate based on the means, standard deviations, and distributions of the design parameters. The probabilistic method is compared to experimental data from heat pipes with wire mesh wicks. Mean values, standard deviations, and distributions are presented for wick permeability, critical radius, area, porosity, tortuosity, and heat transfer rate. A technique is described for making wire mesh wicks. The probabilistic design model indicates the range of design without the use of safety factors.

Degree Name

Mechanical Engineering

Level of Degree


Department Name

Mechanical Engineering

First Committee Member (Chair)

Karl Thomas Feldman

Second Committee Member

M. W. William

Third Committee Member

F. C. Wessling

Document Type