Controlled Wetting in Nanoporous Membranes for Thin Film Evaporation

[+] Author and Article Information
Kyle L. Wilke

Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIT, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA

Banafsheh Barabadi

Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIT, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA

TieJun Zhang

Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Evelyn N. Wang

Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIT, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA

1Corresponding author.

J. Heat Transfer 138(8), 080906 (Jul 08, 2016) (1 page) Paper No: HT-16-1272; doi: 10.1115/1.4033827 History: Received May 13, 2016; Revised May 17, 2016


With the ever increasing cooling demands of advanced electronics, thin film evaporation has emerged as one of the most promising thermal management solutions. High heat transfer rates can be achieved in thin films of liquids due to a small conduction resistance through the film to the evaporating interface. In thin film evaporation, maintaining a stable liquid film to attain high evaporation rates is challenging. We investigated nanoporous anodic aluminum oxide (AAO) membranes to supply liquid to the evaporating surface via capillarity. In this work, we achieved enhanced experimental control via the creation of a hydrophobic section within the nanopore. By creating a non-wetting section, the liquid is confined within the membrane to a region of well-controlled geometry. This non-wetting section also prevents flooding, where the formation of a thick liquid film degrades device performance. When heat flux is applied to the membrane surface, the liquid wicks into the membrane from the bottom and becomes pinned at the onset of the hydrophobic layer. As a result, the wetting in the membrane is controlled, flooding is prevented, and a stable evaporating surface in achieved. With this approach, thin film evaporation from nanoporous media can now be studied for varying parameters such as pore size, porosity, and location of the meniscus within the pore.

Copyright © 2016 by ASME
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