The present study is motivated by interest in understanding of physical mechanisms that govern the effect of material and micro-structural characteristics of heat surface on boiling heat transfer and burnout at high heat fluxes. The effect was reported and investigated experimentally and analytically over several past decades. Only recently, with the advent of nanotechnology including microscale manufacturing, it becomes possible to perform high heat-flux boiling experiments with control of surface conditions.
Of particular importance for practice is the potential for significant enhancement of boiling heat transfer (BHT) and critical heat flux (CHF) in pool and flow boiling on heaters with specially manufactured and controlled micro-structured surfaces. This enhancement is very important to a very wide range of engineering applications, like heat exchanger and cooling system, where maximum flux is needed. Currently, there are many controlled experiments that investigate such effect and they lend themselves a subject for detailed computational analysis.
The focus of this study is micro-hydrodynamics of the evaporating thin liquid film at the receding triple contact line, corresponding to formation of dry spot in the footprint of a growing bubble. Parametric investigations are performed to assess the hypotheses that micro-structured surfaces enhance resilience to burnout due to residual liquid in the dry patch after contact line receding.
Towards the study objective, a particle-based (mesh-less) method of computational fluid dynamics called Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) is adopted. The SPH method is selected for its capability to handle fluid dynamics in complex geometries and free surface problems without mass loss (characteristic of alternative interface capturing schemes used in mesh-based methods). Both surface tension and surface adhesion (hydrophilicity) are implemented and tested. The solid (heater) surface and manufactured micro-structures are represented by solid-type particles. Heat transfer, phase change (evaporation) and vapor dynamics are not included in the present simulation.
The bouncing drop case measures the contact time of water droplet with solid surface. This case is used for “mesh” sensitivity (particle size) study and calibration of boundary conditions and surface tension coefficient.
Subsequently, case studies are formulated and performed for contact line dynamics on heater surfaces with the fabricated Micro Pillar Arrays surfaces (MPA) and smooth surface. Variable characteristics include surface tension and pillar density on structured surface (modified by changing distance between pillars).
First of all, residual fluid are found in all simulations with structured surface, while fluid are drained for smooth cases. For structured surface, it’s found that after the contact line recedes, fluid with higher surface tension resides in the dry patch more than fluid with lower coefficient, and the relation tends to be non-linear. While for smooth surface, all fluid will be drained after certain time and the relations are non-monotonic; it’s also found that the amount of residual fluid increase as the distance between pillars decreases until a limit. The fluid then starts to decrease with pillars being set further apart. The increase starts from 30 μm and the limit is around 10 μm.