Miniaturization and performance improvements of electronic devices in recent decades have significantly increased heat dissipation rates. To overcome this, researchers have developed heat sinks with miniature fluid channels to maintain small device footprints with increased heat transfer performance. These channels are often fabricated using either subtractive fabrication methods, such as etching or micro-milling, or additive methods such as direct metal laser sintering (DMLS). These methods are limited by their long processing times, low geometric accuracy, or high cost. To overcome these limitations, a novel additive manufacturing method is developed using twin wire-arc spray. Wire-arc spray was used to build complex aluminum structures with length scales varying from 0.5 mm to 74 mm. Surface structures were built on a metal plate by spraying aluminum through a 3D printed polymer mask. Internal flow passages were made by filling surface channels with a water-soluble polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) paste that was allowed to harden, spraying metal over it, and then dissolving the PVA. The influence of wire-arc spray process parameters, such as standoff distance and scanning speed, on coating solid PVA with aluminum, were also investigated.

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