Immersion cooling strategies often employ surface enhancements to improve the pool boiling heat transfer performance. Sintered particle/powder coatings with different constituent particle sizes and total layer thicknesses have been commonly used on smooth surfaces to reduce the wall superheat and increase the critical heat flux during pool boiling. However, the role of the particle morphology on pool boiling has not been explicitly investigated. Since the morphology of the particles affects the pore shape, permeability, surface roughness, effective conductivity and diffusivity of the sintered coating, it will impact the heat transfer coefficient and critical heat flux during boiling. In this study, pool boiling of FC-72 is experimentally investigated using copper surfaces coated with a layer of sintered copper particles of irregular, dendritic and spherical morphologies. In order to isolate the effect of particle morphology, particles with the same effective diameter (90–106 μm) are sintered under controlled conditions that yield the same porosity (∼60%) and coating thickness (∼6 particle diameters) for all samples tested. The effects of particle morphology on the incipient wall superheat, nucleate boiling heat transfer coefficient, and critical heat flux are analyzed. The morphology of the pore structure in the coating formed by sintering is observed with SEM images; bubble nucleation and departure characteristics affecting the heat transfer performance of the coatings are qualitatively assessed with the aid of high-speed flow visualizations to corroborate the trends observed in the boiling curves. The irregular particles are observed to show the highest heat transfer coefficient, followed by dendritic and then spherical particles. The critical heat flux is found to be independent of the particle morphology.

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