Numerical study of the effect of inlet constriction on bubble growth during flow boiling in microchannels

Abhijit Mukherjee
Satish Kandlikar

Third international conference on microchannels and minichannels, June 13-15, 2005. The complete proceedings are available at . Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works in February 2014.


Flow boiling through microchannels is characterized by nucleation of vapor bubbles on the channel walls and their rapid growth as they fill the entire channel cross-section. In parallel microchannels connected through a common header, formation of vapor bubbles often results in flow maldistribution that leads to reversed flow in certain channels. The reversed flow is detrimental to the heat transfer and leads to early CHF condition. One way of eliminating the reversed flow is to incorporate flow restrictions at the channel inlet. In the present numerical study, a nucleating vapor bubble placed near the restricted end of a microchannel is numerically simulated. The complete Navier-Stokes equations along with continuity and energy equations are solved using the SIMPLER method. The liquid-vapor interface is captured using the level set technique. The results show that with no restriction the bubble moves towards the nearest channel outlet, whereas in the presence of a restriction, the bubble moves towards the distant but unrestricted end. It is proposed that channels with increasing cross-sectional area may be used to promote unidirectional growth of the vapor plugs and prevent reversed flow.