Unsteady-state fluctuations analysis during bubble growth in a "rectangular" microchannel

Jacqueline Barber, D. Brutin, K. Sefiane, J. L. Gardarein, L. Tadrist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Boiling in microchannels shows great potential for cooling systems and compact heat removal applications. However for confidence in this cooling technique, it is essential that any excursions from typical flow boiling are understood and predicted. Confined bubble growth can cause pressure fluctuations which interfere with bubble nucleation and growth and can also lead to flow reversal and instances of temperature excursions. Boiling experiments are performed in a single rectangular microchannel of hydraulic diameter 771 mu m, using n-Pentane as the working fluid. A heating technique was incorporated on the exterior walls of the microchannel: a transparent, metallic, conductive deposit, which allows simultaneous uniform heating and visualisation to be achieved. In conjunction with obtaining high-speed imaging, an infrared camera is used to record the temperature profile at the microchannel wall, and sensitive pressure sensors are used to record the pressure drop across the microchannel over time. During flow boiling in the microchannel periodic and non-periodic fluctuations in both the channel pressure drop and channel temperature profile over time are apparent. In this paper we provide a full analysis of the temperature measurements and pressure data obtained during the growth of a vapour bubble in the microchannel. An augmentation of the heat transfer coefficient of over 216% has been achieved during periodic two-phase flow boiling in the microchannel. However overpressure (over 410% increase) in the microchannel occurs at corresponding instances to the heat transfer enhancement. The two time steps during the periodic bubble dynamics, namely the bubble expansion time period and the waiting time period in-between the bubble expansion fluctuations, are also investigated and modelled. It was determined that both the bubble dynamics and the channel wall heating time period are responsible for the pressure and temperature fluctuation time periods observed. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4784-4795
Number of pages12
JournalInternational journal of heat and mass transfer
Issue number23-24
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Flow boiling instabilities
  • Experimental
  • Microchannel
  • Pressure fluctuations
  • Infrared measurements


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