Previous research in dropwise condensation (DWC) on rough microtextured superhydrophobic surfaces has demonstrated evidence of high heat transfer enhancement compared to smooth hydrophobic surfaces. In this study, we experimentally investigate the use of microporous sintered copper powder on copper substrates coated with a thiol-based self-assembled monolayer to attain enhanced DWC for steam in a custom condensation chamber. Although microtextured superhydrophobic surfaces have shown advantageous droplet growth dynamics, precise heat transfer measurements are underdeveloped at high heat flux. Sintered copper powder diameters from 4 μm to 119 μm were used to investigate particle size effects on heat transfer. As powder diameter decreased, competing physical factors led to improved thermal performance. At consistent operating conditions, we experimentally demonstrated a 23% improvement in the local condensation heat transfer coefficient for a superhydrophobic 4 μm diameter microporous copper powder surface compared to a smooth hydrophobic copper surface. For the smallest powders observed, this improvement is primarily attributed to the reduction in contact angle hysteresis as evidenced by the decrease in departing droplet size. Interestingly, the contact angle hysteresis of sessile water droplets measured in air is in contradiction with the departing droplet size observations made during condensation of saturated steam. It is evident that the specific design of textured superhydrophobic surfaces has profound implications for enhanced condensation in high heat flux applications.

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