Gravity influence on heat transfer rate in flow boiling

C.H.M. Baltis, G.P. Celata, M. Cumo, L. Saraceno, G. Zummo

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    30 Citations (Scopus)
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    The aim of the present paper is to describe the results of flow boiling heat transfer at low gravity and compare them with those obtained at earth gravity, evaluating possible differences. The experimental campaigns at low gravity have been performed with parabolic flights. The paper will show the analysis of differences between the heat transfer coefficients at normal and at zero gravity, and the study of the effects of mass flux, heat flux, and tube diameter on boiling phenomena at microgravity. Three tube diameters are tested: 6.0, 4.0, and 2.0 mm. With respect to terrestrial gravity, both heat transfer rate enhancement (up to 15–20%) and deterioration (up to 35%) have been observed. Heat transfer differences for the two gravity conditions may be related to the different bubble size in each of them. The size of a bubble in flow boiling is generally affected by the gravity level, being larger at low gravity, unless inertial forces are largely predominant over buoyancy and other forces acting on the bubble itself when detaching from a heating wall. Heat transfer enhancements at low gravity, are observed in those conditions where the flow pattern is bubbly flow at normal gravity and intermittent flow at low gravity. The results are presented in a flow boiling gravity influence map, which can be considered a useful tool for designing boiling systems for space applications.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)203-213
    Number of pages11
    JournalMicrogravity Science and Technology
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


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