Film thickness measurement with an ultrasonic transducer

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A technique for measuring condensate film thickness using an ultrasonic transducer is described. In the experiment, the condensate film thickness with R-113 and FC-72 (a fluorinert compound developed by the 3M Company) condensing on the horizontal lower surface of a rectangular duct was measured at several locations. From the measured values a power law relation between the condensate film thickness and the axial distance from the leading edge of the condensing surface was derived by regression analysis. Assuming a linear temperature profile in the condensate film, local and average heat transfer coefficients were computed from the condensate film thickness. The average heat transfer coefficients were compared with the values obtained by measuring the heat transfer rate to the coolant. The two values were within ±12% of each other. As yet there is no satisfactory analytical model to predict the local heat transfer coefficient even in the annular condensation regime. One of the main difficulties in modeling the condensation is the lack of a suitable model to predict the interfacial shear stress. With the measurement of the film thickness it is possible to determine the interfacial shear stress. It is hoped that the shear stresses so determined will lead to the development of a satisfactory model for interfacial shear stress with condensation. © 1993.

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Experimental Thermal and Fluid Science