Adiabatic and Diabatic Two-Phase Venting Flow in a Microchannel

David, M.P., Steinbrenner, J.E., Miler, J., and Goodson, K.E., 2011, "Adiabatic and Diabatic Two-Phase Venting Flow in a Microchannel," International Journal of Multiphase Flow, Vol. 37, pp. 1135-1146.

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The growth and advection of the vapor phase in two-phase microchannel heat exchangers increase the system pressure and cause flow instabilities. One solution is to locally vent the vapor formed by capping the microchannels with a porous, hydrophobic membrane. In this paper we visualize this venting process in a single 124 lm by 98 lm copper microchannel with a 65 lm thick, 220 nm pore diameter hydrophobic Teflon membrane wall to determine the impact of varying flow conditions on the flow structures and venting process during adiabatic and diabatic operation. We characterize liquid velocities of 0.14, 0.36 and 0.65 m/s with superficial air velocities varying from 0.3 to 8 m/s. Wavy-stratified and stratified flow dominated low liquid velocities while annular type flows dominated at the higher velocities. Gas/vapor venting can be improved by increasing the venting area, increasing the trans-membrane pressure or using thinner, high permeability membranes. Diabatic experiments with mass flux velocities of 140 and 340 kg/s/m2 and exit qualities up to 20% found that stratified type flows dominate at lower mass fluxes while churn-annular flow became more prevalent at the higher mass-flux and quality. The diabatic flow regimes are believed to significantly influence the pressure-drop and heat transfer coefficient in vapor venting heat exchangers.

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