Thin film evaporation heat transfer plays an extremely important role in capillary microstructures of the type used extensively in micro heat pipes, loop heat pipes and high-flux film heat spreaders. Because the formation of the liquid meniscus in the pore cell has a significant effect on the evaporation process occurring at the interface of the liquid meniscus, it is necessary to investigate the mechanisms and limitations of the phase-change phenomena occurring in the thin layer. In the current study, an analytical model, which combines the heat conduction in the wick layer with bubble formation mechanisms in the capillary structure, has been developed to determine the evaporation heat transfer limit. Temperature distribution, superheat, and heat flux distribution in the liquid meniscus area are investigated for a single layer of metal screen mesh. The wire diameter, the space between the wires and the contact conditions between the solid wall and mesh layer is shown to have a significant effect on the evaporation limit and capillary force. Results indicated that evaporation takes place mainly in the thin film region, and the heat transfer coefficient is much higher in this area than in the intrinsic region. The evaporation limit is restrained by the formation of the liquid meniscus, and the higher the capillary pressure, the lower the evaporation heat transfer limit.

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