oil-infusion surface, refrigerant condensation, low surface tension fluid, dropwise condensation
Dropwise condensation, since first recognized in 1930, has stimulated interest because its heat transfer coefficient (HTC) is much higher than film condensation. For some applications, not only a higher heat transfer performance is desired, but also the retention of the fluids on the surface can be a big issue. For example, the refrigerant retention in some enhanced tube can block the contact of the vapor-solid interface and increase the thermal resistance; it also can increase the charge of refrigerant because certain amount of refrigerant could not go through the system cycle. Many efforts were dedicated to modifying the surface and promote dropwise condensation, and most research focus on the condensation of water vapor. It is very challenging to promote dropwise condensation for working fluids with a lower surface tension than water, such as refrigerant. Research have been conducted on dropwise condensation for low surface tension fluids using oil-infusion surface, which is promoted by the contact of drop to the liquid-vapor interface instead of solid-vapor interface. However, the effectiveness and efficiency of the oil-infusion surface is still a critical challenge, and the heat transfer mechanism of dropwise condensation with such liquid-liquid interface stays unclear. In this work, condensation of R134a on oil-immerged surfaces is investigated. Heat transfer coefficient is measured, and formation of the condensate is observed using a high speed camera. Two cavity surfaces of different porous scale are examined, of which, one is nanoscale pores and another is microscale pores Mineral oil of low miscibility to R134a is soaked to be saturated in the cavity prior to the experiment. All experiments were conducted under saturated condition of ambient temperature (around 22 °C) in a pressure chamber. The subcool level of the condensation is 10 °C. Images of the local condensation formation is analyzed and heat transfer coefficient is also compared for different surfaces. The duration of the oil-infusion surface is also tested for both surfaces.