Experimental investigation of micro-scale temperature transients in sub-cooled flow boiling on a horizontal heater Academic Article uri icon


  • Surface temperature fluctuations that occur locally underneath departing bubbles in pool boiling are shown to result in local heat transfer coefficients ranging from 1 to 10 kW/cm2. These estimates were reported in the literature involved both numerical and experimental approaches. Significantly higher heat fluxes are associated with flow boiling than pool boiling under similar conditions of wall superheat and liquid subcooling (e.g. at boiling inception and at critical heat flux). These enhancements are primarily caused by the convective transport, acceleration/distortion of the bubble departure process as well as the resultant potential enhancement of the local surface temperature fluctuations. In this study we measure the surface temperature fluctuations using temperature micro/nano-sensors fabricated on a silicon wafer during flow boiling on the silicon wafer which is heated from below. The silicon wafer is clamped on a constant heat flux type calorimeter consisting of a vertical copper cylinder with embedded cartridge heaters and K-type thermocouples. Micro/nano-thermocouples (thin film thermocouples or "TFT") are fabricated on the surface of the silicon wafer. High speed data acquisition apparatus is used to record temperature data from the TFT at 1 kHz. A fluorinert was used as the test fluid (PF-5060, manufacturer: 3M Co.). The calorimeter and surface temperature measurement apparatus is housed in a test section with glass walls for visual observation. The liquid is pumped from a constant temperature bath to maintain a fixed subcooling during the experiments under steady state conditions. The transient temperature data from the FFT array during flow boiling on the silicon wafer is analyzed using fast Fourier transform (FFT). The FFT data is analyzed as a function of the wall heat flux and wall superheat. The number of temperature peaks in the FFT data is observed to increase with increase in wall heat flux and the peaks are found to cover a wider spectrum with peaks at higher frequencies with enhancement of heat flux. The surface temperature fluctuations, especially at small length and time scales, are perturbed potentially by the coupled hydrodynamic and thermal transport processes, resulting in enhanced local and global heat flux values. Boiling incipience condition and the flow boiling data are compared with correlations reported in the literature. © 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

author list (cited authors)

  • Sunder, M., & Banerjee, D.

citation count

  • 3

publication date

  • February 2009