Nucleate boiling is an attractive method for achieving high heat flux at low superheat temperatures. It is frequently used for industrial applications such as heat exchangers and is being considered to cool advanced central processing units (CPU) which produce heat fluxes on the order of 1 MW/m2 and are becoming increasingly less efficient to cool via forced conduction of air. The issues with implementing nucleate boiling as a cooling mechanism lies in the difficulty of quantifying the complex and numerous mechanisms which control the process.
A comprehensive nucleate boiling model has yet to be formulated and will be required in order to safely and reliably cool high performance electronics. Spatially periodic systems with localized asymmetric surface structures (ratchets) can induce directed transport of matter (liquid/particles) in the absence of net force. It was hypothesized that ratchets may enhance pool boiling heat transfer by aiding in the removal of vapor which forms on the heated surface. Therefore, experiments on pool boiling using asymmetric micro ratchets of various geometries, with FC-72 as the working fluid, were investigated. Additionally, various numerical pool boiling simulations were performed using FLUENT to better understand the underlying physical principles behind pool boiling.