Spherical glass and copper beads have been used to create bead packed porous structures for an investigation of two-phase heat transfer bubble dynamics under geometric constraints. The results demonstrated a variety of bubble dynamics characteristics under a range of heating conditions. At low heat flux of 18.9 kW/m2, a single spherical bubble formed at nucleation sites of a heating surface and departed to the interstitial spaces of porous structure. When heat flux increased to 47 kW/m2, a single bubble grew into a Y shape between beads layers and connected with others to generate a horizontal vapor column. As heat flux reached 76.3 kW/m2, vertical vapor columns obtained strong momentum to form several major vapor escaping arteries, and glass beads were pushed upward by the vapor in the escaping arteries. According to Zuber’s hydrodynamics theory, choking will take place when the size of vapor columns reaches a certain value that is comparable to the critical hydrodynamic wavelength of the vapor column in plain surface pool boiling. The experimental and simulation results of this investigation illustrated that, under the geometric constrains of bead packed porous structures, similar characteristics had been induced to trigger the earlier occurrence of vapor column chocking inside porous structures. The bubble generation, growth, and detachment during the nucleate pool boiling heat transfer have been filmed, the heating surface temperatures and heat flux were recorded, and theoretical models have been employed to study bubble dynamic characteristics. Computer simulation results were combined with experimental observations to clarify the details of the vapor bubble growth process and the liquid water replenishing the inside of the porous structures. This investigation has clearly shown, with both experimental and computer simulation evidence, that the millimeter scale bead packed porous structures could greatly influence pool boiling heat transfer by forcing a single bubble to depart at a smaller size as compared to that in a plain surface situation at low heat flux situations, and could trigger the earlier occurrence of critical heat flux (CHF) by trapping the vapor into interstitial space and forming a vapor column net. The results also proved data for further development of theoretical models of pool boiling heat transfer in bead packed porous structures.

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