Bubble activation from a hydrophobic spot at “negative” surface superheats in subcooled boiling

Biao Shen, Bambang Joko Suroto, Sana Hirabayashi, Masayuki Yamada, Sumitomo Hidaka, Masamichi Kohno, Koji Takahashi, Yasuyuki Takata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


We present experimental results on the controlled bubble generation from a single PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) spot—with diameter varying from 2 mm to 6 mm—deposited on a flat polished copper surface that was submersed in subcooled pure water. The static contact angle of the PTFE coating was measured to be over 120° which conveniently produced a clear contrast with the copper substrate in terms of wettability that ensured controlled bubble nucleation. By making use of a high-speed camera, statistical details about the bubble formation that include the departure frequency and diameter have been obtained at various surface temperatures. An interesting observation was made of repeated cycles of bubble nucleation and detachment at nominally negative surface superheats (i.e., the wall temperature being below the saturation temperature at the system pressure), which featured particularly long bubble growth time and seemingly no waiting time. The vertical temperature distribution inside the bubble, which was measured by a micro-thermocouple of about 250 μm in diameter, suggests a relatively stable bubble composition of water vapor and dissolved air. A heat-pipe analogy was drawn to describe the internal heat transfer mechanism of bubble growth on a mixed wettability surface under subcooled conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)230-236
Number of pages7
JournalApplied Thermal Engineering
Publication statusPublished - Sept 5 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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