Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MS)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Advisor 1

Sajjad Bigham

Committee Member 1

Amitabh Narain

Committee Member 2

Kazuya Tajiri

Committee Member 3

Susanta Ghosh


Extensive research has been carried out over the course of the last few decades to induce dropwise condensation as it offers 5 - 7 times better heat transfer performance compared to filmwise condensation process. A number of methods such as low surface energy hydrophobic coatings, surface modification of hydrophobic surfaces to fabricate micro, nano and hierarchical structures, and the recent incorporation of jumping droplet phenomenon have provided effective means to further enhance the condensation heat transfer. However, existing methods to enhance condensation heat transfer rate fail in the case of low surface tension, highly wetting liquids such as hydrocarbons, cryogens, and fluorinated dielectrics and refrigerants used in various industrial applications. Due to their extremely wetting behavior, such fluids almost always condense in a filmwise mode and the removal of the condensate other than by gravity has been a challenge. Here, we fabricate a novel capillary surface to decouple the removal of the condensate vapor from the condensing surface. The new surface consists of alternating capillary bridge and plain sections. The liquid condensing in the plain channels and the outer surfaces of the capillary bridge is wicked into the wick bridge, effectively decoupling the condensation surface and the condensate removal paths. We have determined that the condensation performance of the fabricated surfaces is enhanced by a factor of 3 compared to a plain surface, and further enhanced by a factor of 4.5, compared to a plain surface, by bonding an additional cover mesh layer and decreasing the channels widths of the condensation surface. This proves that the concept of employing a capillary bridge greatly enhances the rate of condensation for low surface tension liquids such as dielectric fluids. Hence, the knowledge gained from this thesis will serve as basic guideline for designing new simple, cost effective, and scalable surface technologies with enhanced condensation heat transfer for widely used low surface tension liquids.