A horizontal tube evaporator in which complete vaporization takes place can be divided into three distinct regions—a subcooled, a two-phase, and a superheat region. The mixture-vapor transition point corresponds to the liquid film dryout point, and when entrainment is negligible, it represents the boundary between the two-phase and superheat regions. Experimental evidence indicates that during what is conventionally accepted as steady flow conditions, the motion of the mixture-vapor transition point is of an oscillatory nature. Furthermore, not only are the oscillations random, but their statistical characteristics can be represented by a modified Rayleigh distribution. This paper presents the formulation of a theoretical model which incorporates various deterministic mechanisms, while at the same time includes the existence of a random phenomenon. The model has the capability of predicting the influence of evaporator heat flux and inlet flow quality on the statistical characteristics of the transition point oscillations. Perhaps, the most significant potential of the proposed model is that it represents a first step toward the formulation of some of the fundamental mechanisms associated with two-phase evaporating flow instabilities on a statistical basis; a basis which appears to be consistent with many of the experimental observations currently available.

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