Micro heat exchangers are emerging as one of the most effective cooling technologies for high power-density applications. The design of micro heat exchangers is complicated by the presence of alternating flow regimes, which give way to flow boiling instability. Bubble formation inside microchannels can be correlated directly to flow boiling instability and can regulate flow characteristics and wall heat transfer when the bubbles grow to reach the microchannel hydraulic diameter. In this study, the growth of vapor bubbles in a single microchannel was examined using an experimental setup capable of measuring coolant flow rate, inlet and outlet liquid temperatures, and channel wall surface temperature. Liquid flow rate and wall heat flux were systematically varied while a high-speed camera was used to capture images of vapor bubbles forming in the channel. These images were used to compare bubble growth rates for a constant flow rate. The results provide fundamental understanding of the bubble growth process.

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