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Exponential vaporization fronts and critical heat flux in pool boiling

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journal contribution
posted on 2018-10-30, 00:00 authored by C. Staszel, A. L. Yarin
Here we study the inception and propagation of vaporization fronts and transition to the critical heat flux (CHF) and film-boiling regime triggered by a steep, almost instantaneous increase in the heat release from a strip heater submerged in Novec 7300 liquid. The propagation path of the resulting vaporization front along the strip heater is measured and shown to be exponentially increasing in time, in distinction from the previous reports in literature claiming that the increase is only linear. Since the previous experiments employed such liquids as water, refrigerants, acetone, ethanol, and alkali metals, which possess relatively high latent heat of evaporation and thus require a relatively high power to be supplied, the heater burnout at the inception of the CHF and film boiling was too fast to allow for longer-time observations. Accordingly, the previous works observed only an extremely short-time asymptotics of the propagation process, which means the short-time expansion of the exponential function, which is linear. On the other hand, in the experiments with Novec 7300 liquid, the heater burnout is delayed due to a much lower latent heat of evaporation, thus allowing for a much longer observation of the propagation path, which appears to be exponentially increasing in time. The experiments were preceded by our theoretical prediction of such a behavior, and this theory is also described in the present work. Due to the fact that this theory has been corroborated by the experimental data, the theory yields an adequate explanation and description of the CHF trigger and film boiling inception.


The authors are grateful to NASA for the support of this work through the Grant No. NNX17AF33G.



Staszel, C., & Yarin, A. L. (2018). Exponential vaporization fronts and critical heat flux in pool boiling. International Communications in Heat and Mass Transfer, 98, 171-176. doi:10.1016/j.icheatmasstransfer.2018.08.019




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