The effect of inlet constriction on bubble growth during flow boiling in microchannels

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Flow boiling through microchannels is characterized by nucleation of vapor bubbles on the channel walls. In parallel microchannels connected through a common header, formation of vapor bubbles often results in flow mal-distribution that leads to reversed flow in certain channels. One way of eliminating the reversed flow is to incorporate flow restrictions at the channel inlet. In the present study, a nucleating vapor bubble placed near the restricted end of a single microchannel is numerically simulated. Placing restrictions at channel inlet increased the incoming liquid velocity for the same flow rate that prevented explosive bubble growth and reversed flow. It is proposed that channels with increasing cross-sectional area may be used to promote unidirectional growth of the vapor plugs and prevent reversed flow. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer