Criteria for approximating certain microgravity flow boiling characteristics in Earth gravity

Herman Merte, Jaeseok Park, William W. Shultz, Robert B. Keller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The forces governing flow boiling, aside from system pressure, are buoyancy, liquid momentum, interfacial surface tensions, and liquid viscosity. Guidance for approximating certain aspects of the flow boiling process in microgravity can be obtained in Earth gravity research by the imposition of a liquid velocity parallel to a flat heater surface in the inverted position, horizontal, or nearly horizontal, by having buoyancy hold the heated liquid and vapor formed close to the heater surface. Bounds on the velocities of interest are obtained from several dimensionless numbers: a two-phase Richardson number, a two-phase Weber number, and a Bond number. For the fluid used in the experimental work here, liquid velocities in the range U = 5-10cm/sec are judged to be critical for changes in behavior of the flow boiling process. Experimental results are presented for flow boiling heat transfer, concentrating on orientations that provide the largest reductions in buoyancy parallel to the heater surface, varying ± 5 degrees from facing horizontal downward. Results are presented for velocity, orientation, and subcooling effects on nucleation, dryout, and heat transfer. Two different heater surfaces were used: a thin gold film on a polished quartz substrate, acting as a heater and resistance thermometer, and a gold-plated copper heater. Both transient and steady measurements of surface heat flux and superheat were made with the quartz heater; only steady measurements were possible with the copper heater. R-113 was the fluid used; the velocity varied over the interval 4-16cm/sec; bulk liquid subcooling varied over 2-20°C; heat flux varied over 4-8W/cm2.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)481-503
Number of pages23
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 2002 Jun 5


  • Earth gravity
  • Flow boiling
  • Microgravity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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