Evaporative Heat and Mass Transfer from the Free Surface of a Liquid Wicked into a Bed of Spheres

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International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer


Evaporation of ethanol from square packed arrays of 3.95 mm diameter copper spheres in a transparent, enclosed chamber is investigated. The enclosure ensures that relatively saturated vapor conditions exist near the free surface. The desired heat flux is imposed on the copper substrate upon which the copper spheres are mounted, and the liquid level in the bed is maintained by wicking from a continuous supply of liquid provided by a syringe pump. Transparent windows in the enclosure allow for visualization of the
evaporating liquid meniscus shape, which is recorded for different liquid feeding rates and heat fluxes. Experimentally measured meniscus profiles are compared to analytical results based on surface-energy minimization. A meniscus microregion is defined from the contact line to the length where the liquid thickness reaches 10 lm. An approximate kinetic theory-based analysis estimates that up to 55% of the total meniscus mass transfer occurs in this microregion.

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