Previous investigations of the critical heat flux in flow boiling have resulted in widely different hydrodynamic mechanisms for the occurrence of burnout. Results of the present study indicate that existing models are not completely realistic representations of the process. The present study sorts out the influences of the far-wake bubble breakoff and vapor sheet characteristics, gravity, surface wettability, and heater surface temperature distribution on the peak heat flux in flow boiling on cylindrical heaters. The results indicate that burnout is dictated by near-surface effects. The controlling factor appears to be the vapor escape pattern close to the heater surface. It is also shown that a deficiency of liquid at the downstream end of the heater surface is not the cause of burnout.

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