A photographic study was made of saturated nucleate pool boiling at a pressure of one atmosphere. Over 1000 still photographs and 12 high-speed motion pictures were taken of water boiling from a 2-in-dia flat horizontal surface facing upward. Two surfaces were studied, a 2/0 polished platinum surface and a 4/0 polished copper surface. The platinum surface was studied in the heat flux range of 14,700 to 176,000 Btu/hr, sq ft, and the copper surface from the incipient boiling heat flux of 10,500 Btu/hr, sq ft to the maximum flux of 493,000 Btu/hr, sq ft. Data were obtained for the breakoff diameters of discrete bubbles, and for the populations of active sites at heat fluxes up to 58,600 Btu/hr, sq ft. At least three, and possibly four, heat-transfer regions were found to exist in nucleate boiling, depending upon the mode of vapor generation. The vapor structures on the surface progressed through a sequence of first discrete bubbles, then vapor columns and vapor mushrooms, and finally vapor patches, as the surface temperature was increased. These individual vapor structures, or combinations of them, determine the mechanism of heat transfer in the four nucleate boiling regions. It was concluded that any heat-transfer model or design equation which is based on the dynamics of individual bubbles, or on any other single mechanism, must be in serious error.

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