Heat transfer measurements and photographic studies were performed to capture the detailed evolution of liquid-vapor interfacial behavior near critical heat flux (CHF) for a 90-degree downward-facing convex surface. The test surface, with a width of 3.2 mm and a 102.6-mm radius, consisted of a series of nine heaters which dissipated equal power. Instrumentation within each heater facilitated localized heat flux and temperature measurements along the convex surface, and transparent front and back windows enabled optical access to a fairly two-dimensional liquid-vapor interface. Near CHF, vapor behavior along the convex surface was cyclical in nature and somewhat similar to that observed in pool boiling on horizontal downward-facing flat surfaces. The vapor repeatedly formed a stratified layer at the bottom of the convex surface, which stretched as more vapor was generated, and then departed from the surface. Subsequently, the bottom (downward-facing) heaters, followed by the other heaters, were wetted with liquid before the nucleation/coalescence/stratification/release process repeated itself. Prior to CHF, the surface was adequately cooled by the liquid wetting. At CHF, the surface was still wetted for a brief period, but the wetting time was too short to allow adequate cooling of the downward-facing heaters, and the temperature of these heaters began to rise. This study proves that despite the pronounced thickening of the vapor layer as it propagates upwards along the convex surface, CHF always commences on the downward-facing heaters.

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