Flow and Heat Flux Behavior of Micro-bubble Jet Flows Observed in Thin, Twisted-Wire, Subcooled Boiling in Microgravity

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Microgravity Science and Technology





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Thin wire, subcooled boiling experiments were performed onboard an aircraft flying a parabolic trajectory to provide microgravity conditions for improved observation of jet flow phenomena and their behavior in the absence of buoyant forces. A new type of nucleation jet flow was observed in microgravity. This new micro-bubble jet flow is seen at medium to high heat fluxes and is characterized by a region of the wire that forms multiple jet columns which contain micro-bubbles. These columns flow together and penetrate tens of millimeters into the bulk fluid. Bubble behavior on the wire was observed to progress from a dominance of larger isolated bubbles on the wire to a dominance of micro-bubble jet flows on the wire as heat flux was increased. There was also a transient transition from a few large isolated bubbles to micro-bubble jet flow dominance for a set heat flux. A cross correlation calculation provided velocities of micro-bubbles in the flow, which were in the range of 4-14 mm/s. These velocities were used with convection correlations to show that fluid flows induced by jet flows are a significant contributor to the subcooled boiling heat transfer in microgravity, but are not the primary contributor. Additionally, a relative bubble area analysis approximates the direct contribution of these jet flows to the overall heat dissipation. These micro-bubble jet flows, which are only observed on thin wires (not flat surfaces), and the convection currents they induce, have the potential to allow for sustained fluid motion to occur in microgravity.

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