Phase change heat transfer in porous media finds applications in various geological flows and modern heat pipes. We present a study to show the effect of phase change on heat transfer in a porous channel. We show that the ratio of Jakob numbers based on wall superheat and inlet fluid subcooling governs the liquid–vapor interface location in the porous channel and below a critical value of the ratio, the liquid penetrates all the way to the extent of the channel in the flow direction. In such cases, the Nusselt number is higher due to the proximity of the liquid–vapor interface to the heat loads. For higher heat loads or lower subcooling of the liquid, the liquid–vapor interface is pushed toward the inlet, and heat transfer occurs through a wider vapor region thus resulting in a lower Nusselt number. This study is relevant in the designing of efficient two-phase heat exchangers such as capillary suction based heat pipes where a prior estimation of the interface location for the maximum heat load is required to ensure that the liquid–vapor interface is always inside the porous block for its operation.

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