Microscale fin array structures were replicated onto surfaces of aluminum 1100 and aluminum 6061 alloy (Al1100/Al6061) sheet metals through room-temperature instrumented roll molding. Aluminum-based micro fin arrays were replicated at room temperature, and the fabrication process is one with high throughput and low cost. One-dimensional (1D) micro fin arrays were made through one-pass rolling, while two-dimensional (2D) micro fin arrays were made by sequential 90° cross rolling with the same roller sleeve. For roll molding of 1D micro fins, fin heights greater than 600 µm were achieved and were shown to be proportional to the normal load force per feature width. At a given normal load force, the fin height was further shown to scale inversely with the hardness of the sheet metal. For sequential 90° cross rolling, morphologies of roll molded 2D micro fin arrays were examined, which provided clues to understand how plastic deformation occurred under cross rolling conditions.
A series of pool boiling experiments on low profile Al micro fin array structures were performed within Novec 7100, a widely used commercial dielectric coolant. Results for both horizontal and vertical surface orientations show that roll molded Al micro fin arrays can increase heat flux at fixed surface temperature as compared to un-patterned Al sheet. The present results further suggest that many factors beyond just increased surface area can influence heat transfer performance, including surface finish and the important multiphase transport mechanisms in and around the fin geometry. These factors must also be considered when designing and optimizing micro fin array structures for heat transfer applications.