Experimental investigation of vapor bubble growth during flow boiling in a microchannel

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Experiments were conducted to analyze flow boiling characteristics of water in a single brass microchannel of 25. mm length, 201. μm width, and 266. μm depth. Different heat flux conditions were tested for each of two different mass flow rates over three different values of inlet fluid temperature. Temporal and spatial surface temperature profiles were analyzed to show the relative effect of axial heat conduction on temperature rise along the channel length and the effect of flow regime transition on local surface temperature oscillation. Vapor bubble growth rate increased with increasing wall superheat. The slower a bubble grew, the further it was carried downstream by the moving liquid. Bubble growth was suppressed for increased mass flux while the vapor bubble was less than the channel diameter. The pressure spike of an elongating vapor bubble was shown to suppress the growth of a neighboring bubble by more than 50% of its volume. An upstream progression of the Onset of Bubble Elongation (OBE) was observed that began at the channel exit and progressed upstream. The effects of conjugate heat transfer were observed when different flow regime transitions produced different rates of progression for the elongation sequence. Instability was observed at lower heat fluxes for this single channel experiment than for similar studies with multiple channels. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

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International Journal of Multiphase Flow