Nucleate boiling is one of the most efficient modes of heat transfer. At the start of nucleate boiling, isolated bubbles appear on the heating surface, the regime known as partial nucleate boiling. Transition from isolated bubbles to fully developed nucleate boiling occurs with increase in wall superheat, when bubbles begin to merge in vertical and lateral directions. The laterally merged bubbles form vapor mushrooms, which stay attached to the heater surface via numerous vapor stems. The present study is performed to numerically analyze the bubble dynamics and heat transfer associated with lateral bubble merger during transition from partial to fully developed nucleate boiling. The complete Navier-Stokes equations in three dimensions along with the continuity and energy equations are solved using the SIMPLE method. The liquid vapor interface is captured using the Level-Set technique. Calculations are carried out for multiple bubble-merger in a line and also in a plane and the bubble dynamics and wall heat transfer are compared to that for a single bubble. The results show that the merger process significantly increases the overall wall heat transfer. It is also found that the orientation of the bubbles strongly influences different heat transfer mechanisms.

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