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Visualization of Ice Formation Modes and Flow Blockage During Freezing of Water Flowing in a Microchannel

[+] Author Affiliations
Aakriti Jain, Yonghua Huang, Justin A. Weibel, Suresh V. Garimella

Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

Paper No. HT2016-7243, pp. V002T08A015; 6 pages
  • ASME 2016 Heat Transfer Summer Conference collocated with the ASME 2016 Fluids Engineering Division Summer Meeting and the ASME 2016 14th International Conference on Nanochannels, Microchannels, and Minichannels
  • Volume 2: Heat Transfer in Multiphase Systems; Gas Turbine Heat Transfer; Manufacturing and Materials Processing; Heat Transfer in Electronic Equipment; Heat and Mass Transfer in Biotechnology; Heat Transfer Under Extreme Conditions; Computational Heat Transfer; Heat Transfer Visualization Gallery; General Papers on Heat Transfer; Multiphase Flow and Heat Transfer; Transport Phenomena in Manufacturing and Materials Processing
  • Washington, DC, USA, July 10–14, 2016
  • Conference Sponsors: Heat Transfer Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5033-6
  • Copyright © 2016 by ASME


Freezing in microchannels can be exploited for flow control in microfluidic applications where the use of traditional valve mechanisms is impractical. For liquid flow in a subcooled channel, freezing may initiate in dendritic, annular, or mixed modes of ice formation, depending on operational and geometric parameters. While these different modes have been observed anecdotally, the literature lacks a comprehensive parametric understanding of the ice formation behavior and the resulting time taken to block off flow in a channel. An experimental study is performed to visualize ice formation in water flowing through a subcooled circular microchannel (500 μm inner diameter) that is installed in a vacuum-insulatable, temperature-controlled test cell. The glass microchannel wall and transparent windows in the test cell and vacuum chamber allow for high-speed, high-magnification visualization of the freezing behavior. At flow rates of 0.5 ml/min, 1.0 ml/min, and 2.0 ml/min, dendritic and annular modes of ice formation are observed; the growth characteristics are presented as a function of the water flow rate.

Copyright © 2016 by ASME



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