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First Thermal and Fluids Engineering Summer Conference

ISSN: 2379-1748
ISBN: 978-1-56700-430-4

NUCLEATE BOILING HEAT TRANSFER ENHANCEMENT WITH ELECTROWETTING

DOI: 10.1615/TFESC1.mnt.012859
pages 1707-1720

Aritra Sur
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Houston, Houston, Texas 77204-4006, USA

Yi Lu
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Houston, Houston, Texas 77204-4006, USA

Carmen Pascente
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Houston, Houston, Texas 77204-4006, USA

Paul Ruchhoeft
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Houston, Houston, Texas 77204-4006, USA

Dong Liu
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Houston, Houston, Texas 77204-4006, USA


KEY WORDS: electrowetting, nucleate boiling heat transfer, enhancement

Abstract

Electrowetting (EW) has drawn significant research interests in droplet-based microfluidics, and most applications focus on electronic displays, lab-on-a-chip devices and electro-optical switches, etc. In this paper, we report a novel application of EW in enhancing nucleate boiling heat transfer. The working approach capitalizes on the complimentary roles of hydrophobicity and hydrophilicity in the fundamental processes of nucleate boiling, and takes advantage of the ability of EW to dynamically alter the surface wettability at different thermal loads. In this work, we demonstrate the creation of tunable adaptive boiling surfaces, and examine the effects of EW on the overall boiling heat transfer characteristics. A synchronized high-speed optical imaging and infrared thermography approach is taken to obtain simultaneous measurements of the bubble dynamics, the temperature and heat flux distributions on the boiling surface. Boiling curves are constructed and the boiling heat transfer coefficients are computed for EW-modulated surfaces, and the comparison with that for the baseline hydrophobic surface shows clearly the efficacy of using alternating current (AC) EW to drastically improve the boiling heat transfer performance. Some insights are also offered on the boiling heat transfer mechanisms under the influence of EW.

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