Influence of Film Thickness and Cross-sectional Geometry on Hydrophilic Microchannel Condensation

Fang, C., David, M., Wang, F.M., and Goodson, K.E., 2010, "Influence of Film Thickness and Cross-sectional Geometry on Hydrophilic Microchannel Condensation," International Journal of Multiphase Flow, Vol 36, pp. 608-619.

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Condensation in hydrophilic microchannel is strongly influenced by the channel cross sectional geometry and the condensing surfaces hydrophobicity, which govern the evolution of the liquid film. This work makes progress on studying the relationship between channel geometry and condensation through flow regime visualizations, film-thickness measurements with optical interferometery, and temperature profile measurements with heat flux distribution construction. The hydrophilic microchannels have aspect ratios ranging from 1 to 5 and hydraulic diameters from 100 lm through 300 lm. The experimental measurement qualitatively matches the prediction of previous theoretical models accounting for the surface tension effect, which highlights the importance of surface tension force and channel geometry in the microchannel condensation. Pressure drop and mean heat flux measurements show that a larger channel is favorable for minimizing the pressure drop, while a smaller channel size and higher aspect ratio are desirable for maximizing the mean heat flux. The optimization of the channel geometry for a given application lies in the trade-off between these two factors.

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