Dynamic flow boiling instabilities are studied experimentally in a single, 500 μm-diameter glass mi- crochannel subjected to a uniform heat flux. Fluid flow is driven through the microchannel in an open- loop test facility by maintaining a constant pressure difference between a pressurized upstream reservoir and a reservoir at the exit that is open to the ambient; the working fluid is HFE-7100. This hydrodynamic boundary condition resembles that of an individual channel in a parallel-channel heat sink where the channel mass flux can vary in time. Simultaneous high-frequency measurement of reservoir, inlet, and outlet pressures, pressure drop, mass flux, inlet and outlet fluid temperatures, and wall temperature is synchronized to high-speed flow visualizations enabling transient characterization of the thermal-fluidic behavior. Part 1 of this study investigates the rapid-bubble-growth instability at the onset of boiling; the effect of flow inertia and inlet liquid subcooling is assessed. The mechanisms underlying the rapid- bubble-growth instability, namely, a large liquid superheat and a large pressure spike, are quantified; this instability is shown to cause flow reversal and can result in large temperature spikes. Low flow inertia exacerbates the rapid-bubble-growth instability by starving the heated channel of liquid replenishment for longer durations and results in severe temperature increases. In the case of high flow inertia or high inlet liquid subcooling, flow reversal is still observed at the onset of boiling, but results in a minimal wall temperature rise because liquid quickly replenishes the heated channel. A companion paper (Part 2) investigates the effect of flow inertia, inlet liquid subcooling, as well as heat flux on the thermal-fluidic oscillations during time-periodic flow boiling that follows the initial incipience at the onset of boiling considered here.


Dynamic flow boiling instability, Microchannel, Rapid-bubble-growth instability, Two-phase flow

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T. A. Kingston, J. A. Weibel, and S. V. Garimella, “High‐Frequency Thermal‐Fluidic Characterization of Dynamic Microchannel Flow Boiling Instabilities: Part 1 ‐ Rapid‐Bubble‐Growth Instability at the Onset of Boiling,” International Journal of Multiphase Flow, Vol. 106, pp. 179-188, 2018.