Model of the Evaporating Meniscus in a Capillary Tube

[+] Author and Article Information
L. W. Swanson, G. C. Herdt

Department of Engineering, University of Denver, Denver, CO 80208

J. Heat Transfer 114(2), 434-441 (May 01, 1992) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2911292 History: Received March 01, 1991; Revised October 01, 1991; Online May 23, 2008


A mathematical model describing the evaporating meniscus in a capillary tube has been formulated incorporating the full three-dimensional Young–Laplace equation, Marangoni convection, London–van der Waals dispersion forces, and nonequilibrium interface conditions. The results showed that varying the dimensionless superheat had no apparent effect on the meniscus profile. However, varying the dispersion number produced a noticeable change in the meniscus profile, but only at the microscopic level near the tube wall. No change in the apparent contact angle was observed with changes in the dimensionless superheat or dispersion number. In all cases, the dimensionless mean curvature was asymptotic to a value equal to that for a hemispherical meniscus. The local interfacial mass flux and total mass transfer rate increased dramatically as the dispersion number was increased, suggesting that surface coatings can play an important role in improving or degrading capillary pumping. The model also predicted that the local capillary pressure remains constant and equal to 2σ/rc regardless of changes in the dimensionless superheat and dispersion number. It should be noted that the results in this study are theoretical in nature and require experimental verification.

Copyright © 1992 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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