A STUDY OF HEAT TRANSFER AND FLOW CHARACTERISTICS OF RISING TAYLOR BUBBLES
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Practical application of flow boiling to ground- and space-based thermal management systems hinges on the ability to predict the system’s heat removal capabilities under expected operating conditions. Research in this field has shown that the heat transfer coefficient within two-phase heat exchangers can be largely dependent on the experienced flow regime. This finding has inspired an effort to develop mechanistic heat transfer models for each flow pattern which are likely to outperform traditional empirical correlations. As a contribution to the effort, this work aimed to identify the heat transfer mechanisms for the slug flow regime through analysis of individual Taylor bubbles. An experimental apparatus was developed to inject single vapor Taylor bubbles into co-currently flowing liquid HFE 7100. The heat transfer was measured as the bubble rose through a 6 mm inner diameter heated tube using an infrared thermography technique. High-speed flow visualization was obtained and the bubble film thickness measured in an adiabatic section. Experiments were conducted at various liquid mass fluxes (43-200 kg/m2s) and gravity levels (0.01g-1.8g) to characterize the effect of bubble drift velocity on the heat transfer mechanisms. Variable gravity testing was conducted during a NASA parabolic flight campaign. Results from the experiments showed that the drift velocity strongly affects the hydrodynamics and heat transfer of single elongated bubbles. At low gravity levels, bubbles exhibited shapes characteristic of capillary flows and the heat transfer enhancement due to the bubble was dominated by conduction through the thin film. At moderate to high gravity, traditional Taylor bubbles provided small values of enhancement within the film, but large peaks in the wake heat transfer occurred due to turbulent vortices induced by the film plunging into the trailing liquid slug. Characteristics of the wake heat transfer profiles were analyzed and related to the predicted velocity field. Results were compared and shown to agree with numerical simulations of colleagues from EPFL, Switzerland. In addition, a preliminary study was completed on the effect of a Taylor bubble passing through nucleate flow boiling, showing that the thinning thermal boundary layer within the film suppressed nucleation, thereby decreasing the heat transfer coefficient.