The flow and heat transfer in microchannels has been of great interest for some years now due to the significantly higher heat transfer coefficients useful for enhancing the heat transfer in very small but high heat flux applications such as electronics cooling. Nucleate boiling heat transfer in microchannels is also of great interest for generating even higher heat transfer rates; however, numerous studies have shown that the bubble formation immediately fills the entire microchannel with vapor significantly reducing the heat transfer since the bubble size is normally of the same size as the microchannel. The bubble growth process is very fast and difficult to study experimentally, even with high speed cameras. This study numerically analyzes the flow and bubble growth in a microchannel for various conditions by solving the Navier-Stokes equations with the VOF model with an analytical microlayer model to provide the large amount of vapor produced by the curved region of the microlayer. As each bubble forms, the large pressure drop around the bubble causes the bubble to quickly break away from the nucleation site and move quickly downstream. The bubbles are quite small with the size depending on the bulk flow velocity, subcooling and the heating rate. The numerical results compare quite well with preliminary experimental observations of bubble growth on a microheater embedded in the channel wall for FC-72 flowing in a microchannel.

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