Immersion cooling strategies often employ surface enhancements to improve the pool boiling heat transfer performance. Sintered particle/powder coatings have been commonly used on smooth surfaces to reduce the wall superheat and increase the critical heat flux (CHF). However, there is no unified understanding of the role of coating characteristics on pool boiling heat transfer enhancement. The morphology and size of the particles affect the pore geometry, permeability, thermal conductivity, and other characteristics of the sintered coating. In turn, these characteristics impact the heat transfer coefficient and CHF 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 and spherical morphologies for a range of porosities (∼40–80%). Particles of the same effective diameter (90–106 μm) are sintered to yield identical coating thicknesses (∼4 particle diameters). The porous structure formed by sintering is characterized using microcomputed tomography (μ-CT) scanning to study the geometric and effective thermophysical properties of the coatings. The boiling performance of the porous coatings is analyzed. Coating characteristics that influence the boiling heat transfer coefficient and CHF are identified and their relative strength of dependence analyzed using regression analysis. Irregular particles yield higher heat transfer coefficients compared to spherical particles at similar porosity. The coating porosity, pore diameter, unit necking area, unit interfacial area, effective thermal conductivity, and effective permeability are observed to be the most critical coating properties affecting the boiling heat transfer coefficient and CHF.

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