The effect of surface wettability on flow boiling characteristics within microchannels

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Abstract

The process of flow boiling within micro-passages plays a very important role in many industrial appli- cations. However, there is still a lack of understanding of the effect of an important controlling param- eter: surface wettability. In this paper, an advanced numerical investigation on the effect of wettability characteristics on single and multiple bubble growth during saturated flow boiling conditions within a microchannel is performed. The 3D numerical simulations are conducted with the open-source Computa- tional Fluid Dynamics (CFD) toolbox OpenFOAM, utilising a custom user-enhanced Volume Of Fluid (VOF) solver. The proposed solver enhancements involve an appropriate treatment for spurious velocities damp- ening, an improved dynamic contact angle treatment, as well as the implementation of a phase-change model in the fluid domain also accounting for Conjugate Heat Transfer (CHT) with the solid domain. In total, three sets of simulations of hydrophilic and hydrophobic surfaces with constant heat and mass flux were performed. In the first set, a single bubble seed was patched close to the inlet of the microchan- nel and the Heat Transfer Coefficient (HTC) along the channel interface was measured until the nose of the bubble reaches the outlet. The bubble growth and transport process within the channel were anal- ysed, with a minor effect of the wettability characteristics on the HTC observed. In the second set of simulations, multiple recurring nucleation events at the same position were simulated; observing that in such more realistic cases the effect of wettability in the HTC was more profound. Finally, simulations with multiple nucleation sites and recurring nucleation events were conducted to analyse cases closer to reality. These results show indeed that surface wettability plays a significant role on the HTC, with the hydrophilic and hydrophobic cases performing approximately 43.9% and 17.8% higher respectively, com- pared to the single-phase reference simulations. Additionally, it is found that the dominant heat transfer mechanisms for the hydrophilic and hydrophobic surface are liquid film evaporation and contact line evaporation, respectively, and that for the proposed simulation parameters liquid film evaporation can be considered as a more efficient heat transfer mechanism compared to contact line evaporation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number121133
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer
Volume172
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was partially funded through the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (Marie Sk?odowska Curie grant agreement No. 801604), the European Space Agency (ESA MAP CORA projects TOPDESS and ENCOM4) and the UK's Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (grant EP/P013112/1). Finally, Dr. Georgoulas would like to specifically thank also University of Brighton for the financial support through the Rising Stars Initiative 2019-2020 Scheme.

Funding Information:
This research was partially funded through the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (Marie Skłodowska Curie grant agreement No. 801604), the European Space Agency (ESA MAP CORA projects TOPDESS and ENCOM4) and the UK's Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (grant EP/P013112/1). Finally, Dr. Georgoulas would like to specifically thank also University of Brighton for the financial support through the Rising Stars Initiative 2019-2020 Scheme.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd

Copyright:
Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • flow boiling; microchannels; multiphase flow; VOF; conjugate heat transfer; surface wettability;
  • surface wettability
  • flow boiling
  • microchannels
  • multiphase flow
  • VOF
  • conjugate heat transfer

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