Thermocapillary Effects on the Stability of a Heated, Curved Meniscus

[+] Author and Article Information
D. M. Pratt

Air Force Research Laboratory, AFRL/VAVE, 2130 Eighth Street, Suite 1, Wright-Patterson AFB, OH 45433-7542

J. R. Brown

Air Force Research Laboratory, AFRL/PR, 1950 Fifth Street, Wright-Patterson AFB, OH 45433-7251

K. P. Hallinan

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Dayton, Dayton, OH 45409

J. Heat Transfer 120(1), 220-226 (Feb 01, 1998) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2830045 History: Received February 07, 1997; Revised August 11, 1997; Online January 07, 2008


An investigation of thermocapillary effects on heated menisci formed by volatile liquids in capillary pumped heat transfer devices has been conducted. This research was motivated by the importance of the evaporation process from porous or grooved media integral to the operation of capillary pumped heat transport devices such as heat pipes and capillary pumped loops. From analysis, a criteria was established which predicts the thermal conditions at which the destablizing influences of thermocapillary stresses near the contact line of a heated and evaporating meniscus cause the meniscus to become unstable. Experimentally, two different idealized models of capillary pumped phase change loops were investigated to assess the suitability of the predictions. Correspondence between theory and experiment was observed. Given the observed dry-out of the evaporator at higher heat inputs after the meniscus becomes unstable, the importance of predicting the conditions at the instability onset is made clear.

Copyright © 1998 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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