An experimental study was performed to investigate the effect of surface coating on the critical heat flux for downward facing boiling on the outer surface of a hemispherical vessel. Steady-state boiling experiments were conducted in the SBLB (subscale boundary layer boiling) facility using test vessels with metallic microporous coatings to obtain the local boiling curves and the local CHF limits. Similar heat transfer performance was observed for microporous aluminum and microporous copper coatings. When compared to the corresponding data without coatings, the boiling curves for the coated vessels were found to shift upward and to the right. This meant that the CHF limit and minimum film boiling temperatures were located at higher wall superheats. In particular, the microporous coatings were found to enhance the local CHF values appreciably at all angular locations explored in the experiments. Results of the present study showed that the microporous aluminum coating was very durable. Even after many cycles of steady state boiling, the vessel coating remained rather intact, with no apparent changes in color or structure. Although similar heat transfer performance was observed for microporous copper coatings, the latter were found to be much less durable and tended to degrade after several cycles of boiling.

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