2nd WSEAS International Conference on Nanotechnology/5th WSEAS International Conference on Optics Astrophysics-Astronomy /1st WSEAS International Conference Plasma, Fusion, Nuclear Physics
FEB 20-22, 2010
Boiling is an extremely complicated and illusive process. Microgravity experiments offer a unique opportunity to study the complex interactions without external forces, such as buoyancy, which can affect the bubble dynamics and the related heat transfer. Furthermore, they can also provide a means to study the actual influence of gravity on the boiling. Two research projects on pool boiling in microgravity have been conducted aboard the Chinese recoverable satellites. Ground-based experiments both in normal gravity and in short-term microgravity in the Drop Tower Beijing and numerical simulations have also been performed. Steady boiling of R113 on thin platinum wires was studied with a temperature-controlled heating method, while quasi-steady boiling of FC-72 on a plane plate was investigated with an exponentially increasing heating voltage. It was found that the bubble dynamics in microgravity has a distinct difference from that in normal gravity, and that the heat transfer characteristic is depended upon the bubble dynamics. Lateral motions of bubbles on the heaters were observed before their departure in microgravity. The surface oscillation of the merged bubbles due to lateral coalescence between adjacent bubbles drove it to detach from the heaters. Slight enhancement of heat transfer on wires is observed in microgravity, while diminution is evident for high heat flux in the plate case.