Nucleate boiling heat transfer is first introduced and the literature is reviewed. It was concluded that the passive layer and the grain boundaries are responsible for the transfer to the nucleate boiling regime. Based on the recent work of Biener and his collaborators (Nature Material 2008) and the Gibbs rule of thermodynamics, a possible mechanism was outlined. The mechanism assumes that each grain in the passive layer act as a chemical actuator which is driven by microstructure phase change. The new mechanism agrees well with the experimental results, in good agreement with previous models and can explain why and how CHF occurs.

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