A three-dimensional model has been developed to analyze the transient and steady-state performance of flat heat pipes with discrete heat sources. Three-dimensional flow and energy equations are solved in the vapor and liquid regions, along with conduction in the wall. Saturated flow models are used for heat transfer and fluid flow through the wick. In the wick region, the analysis uses an equilibrium model for heat transfer and a Brinkman-Forchheimer extended Darcy model for fluid flow. Averaged properties weighted with the porosity are used for the wick analysis. The state equation is used in the vapor core to relate density change to the operating pressure. The density change due to pressurization of the vapor core is accounted for in the continuity equation. Vapor flow, temperature and hydrodynamic pressure fields are computed at each time step from coupled continuity/momentum and energy equations in the wick and vapor regions. The mass flow rate at the interface is obtained from the application of kinetic theory. Predictions are made for the magnitude of heat flux at which dryout would occur in a flat heat pipe. The input heat flux and the spacing between the discrete heat sources are studied as parameters. The location in the heat pipe at which dryout is initiated is found to be different from that of the maximum temperature. The location where the maximum capillary pressure head is realized also changes during the transient. Axial conduction through the wall and wick are seen to play a significant role in determining the axial temperature variation.

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