Experiments were performed to investigate nucleate flow boiling and incipience in a flow channel, 1 mm high × 20 mm wide × 357 mm long, vertical, with one wall heated uniformly and others approximately adiabatic. Subcooled R-11 flowed upward through the channel; the mass flux varied from 60 to 4586 kg/(m2s). The inlet subcooling varied from 3.0 to 15.3 °C, and the inlet pressure ranged up to 0.20 MPa. Liquid crystal thermography was used to measure distributions of surface temperature from which the heat transfer coefficients on the heated surface were calculated. Observations of the boiling incipience superheat excursion and the hysteresis phenomenon are presented and discussed.

In laminar flow, a boiling front was observed that clearly separated the region cooled by single-phase convection from the region experiencing nucleate boiling. A prediction for the wall temperature and heat flux at boiling incipience based on nucleation theory compared favorably with the data. An incipience turning angle was defined to describe the transition process from the point of incipience to fully developed nucleate boiling. Fully developed saturated nucleate boiling was correlated well by Kandlikar’s technique.

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