Droplet Condensation in Rapidly Decaying Pressure Fields

[+] Author and Article Information
P. F. Peterson, R. Y. Bai, V. E. Schrock

Department of Nuclear Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720

K. Hijikata

Department of Mechanical Engineering Science, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo, Japan

J. Heat Transfer 114(1), 194-200 (Feb 01, 1992) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2911246 History: Received October 29, 1990; Revised June 22, 1991; Online May 23, 2008


Certain promising schemes for cooling inertial confinement fusion reactors call for highly transient condensation in a rapidly decaying pressure field. After an initial period of condensation on a subcooled droplet, undesirable evaporation begins to occur. Recirculation within the droplet strongly impacts the character of this condensation-evaporation cycle, particularly when the recirculation time constant is of the order of the pressure decay time constant. Recirculation can augment the heat transfer, delay the onset of evaporation, and increase the maximum superheat inside the drop by as much as an order of magnitude. This numerical investigation identifies the most important parameters and physics characterizing transient, high heat flux droplet condensation. The results can be applied to conceptual designs of inertial confinement fusion reactors, where initial temperature differences on the order of 1500 K decay to zero over time spans the order of tens of milliseconds.

Copyright © 1992 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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