Boiling in microchannels remains elusive due to the lack of full understanding of the mechanisms involved. A powerful tool in achieving better comprehension of the mechanisms is detailed imaging and analysis of the two phase flow at a fundamental level. We induced boiling in a single microchannel geometry (hydraulic diameter 727 μm), using a refrigerant FC-72, to investigate several flow patterns. A transparent, metallic, conductive deposit has been developed on the exterior of rectangular microchannels, allowing simultaneous uniform heating and visualisation to be conducted. The data presented in this paper is for a particular case with a uniform heat flux of 4.26 kW/m2 applied to the microchannel and inlet liquid mass flowrate, held constant at 1.33×10−5 kg/s. In conjunction with obtaining high-speed images and videos, sensitive pressure sensors are used to record the pressure drop profiles across the microchannel over time. Bubble nucleation, growth and coalescence, as well as periodic slug flow, are observed in the test section. Phenomena are noted, such as the aspect ratio and Reynolds number of a vapour bubble, which are in turn correlated to the associated pressure drops over time. From analysis of our results, images and video sequences with the corresponding physical data obtained, it is possible to follow visually the nucleation and subsequent both ‘free’ and ‘confined’ growth of a vapour bubble over time.

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