Research ArticlePHYSICS

Synchrotron x-ray imaging visualization study of capillary-induced flow and critical heat flux on surfaces with engineered micropillars

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Science Advances  23 Feb 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 2, e1701571
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1701571

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Over the last several decades, phenomena related to critical heat flux (CHF) on structured surfaces have received a large amount of attention from the research community. The purpose of such research has been to enhance the safety and efficiency of a variety of thermal systems. A number of theories have been put forward to explain the key CHF enhancement mechanisms on structured surfaces. However, these theories have not been confirmed experimentally because of limitations in the available visualization techniques and the complexity of the phenomena. To overcome these limitations and elucidate the CHF enhancement mechanism on the structured surfaces, we introduce synchrotron x-ray imaging with high spatial (~2 μm) and temporal (~20,000 Hz) resolutions. This technique has enabled us to confirm that capillary-induced flow is the key CHF enhancement mechanism on structured surfaces.

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