A relatively simple theory of annular laminar film condensation in microchannels, based on the Nusselt approximations for the condensate film and a theoretically based approximation for the vapor shear stress, has no empirical input and gives the local heat transfer coefficient and local quality for given vapor mass flux and vapor–surface temperature difference distribution along the channel. As well as streamwise vapor shear stress and gravity, the theory includes transverse (to the flow direction) surface tension-driven motion of the condensate film and gives a differential equation for the local (transverse and streamwise) condensate film thickness. As well as four transverse direction boundary conditions due to condensate surface curvature, a streamwise boundary condition is required as in the Nusselt theory. When the vapor is saturated or superheated at inlet, this is provided by the fact that the film thickness is zero around the channel perimeter at the position of onset on condensation. Most experimental investigations have been conducted with quality less than one at inlet and only approximate comparisons, discussed in earlier papers, can be made. The present paper is devoted to comparisons between theory and measurements in investigations where local heat flux and channel surface temperature were measured and the vapor at inlet was superheated. Measured and calculated heat transfer coefficients and their dependence on distance along the channel and on local quality are in surprisingly good agreement and suggest that the mode of condensation is, in fact, annular and laminar, at least where the quality is high.

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