Dynamics and breakup characteristics of a vapor bubble when traveling through the T-junction of a heated branching microchannel are numerically investigated with the Volume of Fluid-Continuum-Surface-Force (VOF-CSF) method. The moving reference frame method, which has been demonstrated to help suppressing the unphysical spurious velocity around the liquid-vapor interface (Numer. Heat Trans. 67, 1–12), is employed and coupled to the VOF-CSF model. In order to evaluate the influence of the wall heating on the growth and breakup of vapor bubble, the saturated-interface-volume phase change model is further coupled to account for the phase change on the bubble interface. The numerical model is first validated against experimental results in literature. Then the effect of wall superheat on bubble dynamics and heat transfer coefficient is investigated. Bubble motion, growth, breakup and heat transfer characteristics at different wall superheats are analyzed in detail. Four bubble breakup regimes are observed, namely non-breakup (NB), breakup with tunnel (TB), combined breakup (CB) and breakup with permanent obstruction (OB). The present study reveals the transport details around an evaporating vapor bubble and helps understanding the underlying physics of bubble behaviors when traveling through a T-shaped branching microchannel.

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