Two-phase heat transfer and bubble characteristics in a microchannel array

T. P. Lagus, F. A. Kulacki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Heat transfer coefficients and bubble motion characteristics are reported for two-phase water flow in an array of 13 equally spaced microchannels over an area of 1 cm 2. Each channel has D h 451 ± 38 μm, W/H 0.8, and L/D h 22.2. Uniform heat flux is applied through the base, and wall temperatures are determined from the thermocouple readings corrected for heat conduction effects. The upper surface is insulated and transparent. Single-phase heat transfer coefficients are in a good agreement with comparable trends of existing correlations for developing flow and heat transfer, although a difference is seen due to the insulated upper surface. Two-phase heat transfer coefficients and flow characteristics are determined for 221 < G < 466 kg/m 2s and 250 < q < 1780 kW/m 2. Heat transfer coefficients normalized with mass flux exhibit a trend comparable to that of available studies that use similar thermal boundary conditions. Flow visualization shows expanding vapor slug flow as the primary flow regime with nucleation and bubbly flow as the precursors. Analysis of bubble dynamics reveals ∼t 1/3 dependence for bubble growth. Flow reversal is observed and quantified, and different speeds of the vapor phase fronts are quantified at the leading and trailing edges of vapor slugs once the bubble diameter equals the channel width. Bubble formation, growth, coalescence, and detachment at the outlet of the array are best characterized by the Weber number.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number071502
JournalJournal of Heat Transfer
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jun 29 2012


  • bubble formation
  • flow boiling
  • flow visualization
  • microchannels
  • vapor slug flow

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