Experiments on microgravity boiling heat transfer by using transparent heaters

H. Ohta

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82 Citations (Scopus)


To clarify the relation between the liquid-vapor behavior and the heat transfer characteristics in the boiling phenomena, the structures of transparent heaters were developed for both flow boiling and pool boiling experiments and were applied to the microgravity environment realized by the parabolic flight of aircraft. In the flow boiling experiment, a transparent heated tube makes the heating, the observation of liquid-vapor behavior and the measurement of heat transfer data simultaneously possible. The heat transfer coefficient in the annular flow regime at moderate quality has distinct dependence on gravity provided that the mass velocity is not so high, while no noticeable gravity effect is seen at high quality and in the bubbly flow regime. The measured gravity effect was directly related to the behavior of annular liquid film observed through the transparent tube wall. In the pool boiling experiment, a structure of transparent heating surface realizes both the observation of the macrolayer or microlayer behavior from underneath and the measurements of local surface temperatures and the layer thickness. It was clarified in the microgravity experiments that no vapor stem exists but tiny bubbles are observed in the macrolayer underneath a large coalesced bubble at high heat flux. The heat flux evaluated by the heat conduction across the layer assumes less than 30% of the total to be transferred. The evaporation of the microlayers underneath primary bubbles just after the generation dominates the heat transfer in the microgravity, not only in the isolated bubble region but also in the coalesced bubble region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-180
Number of pages14
JournalNuclear Engineering and Design
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • General Materials Science
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering


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