Boiling is an effective heat transfer mechanism that is central to a variety of industrial processes including electronic systems, power plants, and nuclear reactors. Micro-/nano-structured surfaces have been demonstrated to significantly enhance the critical heat flux (CHF) during pool boiling, but there is no consensus on how to predict the structure-induced CHF enhancement. In this study, we develop an analytical model that takes into consideration key mechanisms that govern CHF during pool boiling on structured surfaces, namely, capillary wicking and evaporation of the liquid layer underneath the bubble. The model extends existing wicking-based CHF theories by introducing the competing evaporation mechanism. The model reveals a wicking-limited regime where CHF increases monotonically with the wicking flux, and an evaporation-limited regime where additional increases in the wicking flux do not significantly affect CHF. The model predictions are shown to agree with experimental CHF data from the literature for boiling of water on surfaces structured with square micropillar arrays. A parametric study is performed for such micropillared surfaces and has identified the optimal structure based on the competition between wicking and evaporation, capillary pressure and viscous resistance, and conduction and liquid-vapor interfacial resistance.


Pool boiling, Critical heat flux, Structured surfaces, Wicking, Evaporation

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H. Hu, J. A. Weibel, and S. V. Garimella, “A Coupled Wicking and Evaporation Model for Prediction of Pool Boiling Critical Heat Flux on Structured Surfaces,” International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, Vol. 136, pp. 373-382, 2019