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Numerical Simulation and Experimental Observations of Confined Bubble Growth During Flow Boiling in a Microchannel With Rectangular Cross-Section of High Aspect Ratio

[+] Author Affiliations
Y. Q. Zu, Y. Y. Yan

University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK

S. Gedupudi, T. G. Karayiannis, D. B. R. Kenning

Brunel University, Nottingham, UK

Paper No. ICNMM2009-82118, pp. 1077-1085; 9 pages
  • ASME 2009 7th International Conference on Nanochannels, Microchannels, and Minichannels
  • ASME 2009 7th International Conference on Nanochannels, Microchannels and Minichannels
  • Pohang, South Korea, June 22–24, 2009
  • Conference Sponsors: Nanotechnology Institute
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4349-9 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3850-1
  • Copyright © 2009 by ASME


Bubble nucleation and growth to confinement during flow boiling in microchannels lead to high heat transfer coefficients. They may also create pressure fluctuations that change the superheat driving evaporation and cause flow reversals that promote transient dry-out and uneven distribution of flow between parallel channels. The work described in this paper is part of a programme to develop models for these processes that will aid the design of evaporative cooling systems for devices operating at high heat fluxes. Video observations of water boiling in a single copper channel of rectangular cross-section, 0.38 × 1.6 mm and a heated length 40 mm, were performed. The top side of the channel was a glass window. Results are presented for a heat flux, averaged over the area of the three metal sides, of 210 and 173 W/m2 K for incompressible and compressible inlet flow conditions. The inlet pressure was about 1.12 bar and the mass flux was 747.5 kg/m2 s for both conditions examined. The results demonstrated the strong influence of compressibility on the mode of bubble detachment and growth and therefore on flow patterns, pressure fluctuations and heat transfer rates. The fluid mechanics of boiling in this size channel were also successfully investigated by 3-D numerical simulation for bubbles growing at a defined rate with a fixed inlet flow rate using the 3-D CFD code FLUENT 6 (no upstream compressibility). The study examined the fluid mechanics of bubble motion with heat transfer, but the mass transfer across the bubble-liquid interface was not simulated in the present work. A small vapour bubble was injected at the wall to ensure the bubble generation is under a quasi nucleation condition. Its growth was driven by an internal source of vapour, at a rate derived by analysis of the experimental measurements of growth. The simulation reproduced well the observed motion and shape of the bubble. The simulation was then extended to model bubbles generated and growing randomly in a 2-D channel.

Copyright © 2009 by ASME



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