H. K. Dhavaleswarapu, P. Chamarthy, S. V. Garimella, and J. Y. Murthy, “Experimental Investigation of Steady Buoyant-Thermocapillary Convection Near an Evaporating Meniscus,” Physics of Fluids Vol. 19, 082103, 2007.
Micro-particle image velocimetry measurements of the 3D (three-dimensional) convection patterns generated near an evaporating meniscus in horizontally oriented capillary tubes are presented. Analysis of the vapor diffusion away from the meniscus reveals a zone of intense heat flux near the solid-liquid-vapor junction which creates a temperature gradient along the meniscus. This results in a surface tension gradient which, coupled with buoyancy effects, causes buoyant-thermocapillary convection in the liquid film. The relative influence of buoyancy and thermocapillarity on the flow was investigated for tube diameters ranging from 75 to 1575 µm. A transition from a pure 2D thermocapillary flow to a 3D buoyant-thermocapillary flow is observed with an increase in tube diameter. For the 75 µm tube, a symmetrical toroidal vortex is observed near the meniscus. For larger tubes, buoyancy effects become apparent as they dominate the flow field. The high mass fluxes in smaller-diameter tubes drive stronger vortices. Particle streaks and µPIV images obtained in multiple horizontal and vertical planes provide an understanding of this three-dimensional flow behavior. A scaling analysis shows the importance of thermocapillary convection in evaporating menisci.
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