Research Papers: Micro/Nanoscale Heat Transfer

Effect of Mini/Micro/Nanostructures on Filmwise Condensation of Low-Surface-Tension Fluids

[+] Author and Article Information
Ablimit Aili, QiaoYu Ge

Department of Mechanical and
Materials Engineering,
Masdar Institute,
Khalifa University of Science and Technology,
P.O. Box: 54224,
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

TieJun Zhang

Department of Mechanical and Materials
Masdar Institute,
Khalifa University of Science and Technology,
P.O. Box: 54224,
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
e-mail: tiejun.zhang@ku.ac.ae

Contributed by the Heat Transfer Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF HEAT TRANSFER. Manuscript received August 30, 2017; final manuscript received April 24, 2018; published online May 25, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Thomas Beechem.

J. Heat Transfer 140(10), 102402 (May 25, 2018) (7 pages) Paper No: HT-17-1519; doi: 10.1115/1.4040143 History: Received August 30, 2017; Revised April 24, 2018

Micro/nanostructured surfaces have been widely explored to enhance condensation heat transfer over the past decades. When there is no flooding, micro/nanostructures can enable dropwise condensation by reducing solid-droplet adhesion. However, micro/nanostructures have mixed effects on filmwise condensation because the structures can simultaneously thin the condensate film and increase the fluid–solid friction. Although oil infusion of structured surfaces has recently been shown to render filmwise condensation dropwise in many cases, challenges remain in the case of extremely low-surface-tension fluids. This work aims to provide a unified experimental platform and study the impact of mini/micro/nanostructures on condensation heat transfer of low-surface-tension fluids in a customized environmental chamber. We first investigate the effect of microstructures, hydrophobic coating, as well as oil infusion on the filmwise condensation of a low-surface-tension fluid, e.g., refrigerant, on microporous aluminum surfaces. And we show that for low-surface-tension condensates, microstructures, hydrophobic coating, or oil infusion do not play a considerable role in enhancing or deteriorating heat transfer. Next, we study how the addition of nanostructures affects the condensation performance of the refrigerant on copper mini-fin structures. It is found that nanostructures slightly deteriorate the condensation performance due to the dominance of solid–liquid friction, although the performance of these mini-fins with nanostructured surfaces is still better than that of the mini-pin-fins. These results provide guidelines of designing mini/micro/nanoscale surface structures for enhanced condensation applications.

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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Surface morphology and wettability of various aluminum surfaces. SEM images of the (a) bare and (b) microporous samples. (c) Magnified view of the microstructures in (b). (d)–(g) Water contact angles of the bare, microporous, microporous and coated, and oil-infused surfaces. Note that the infused oil is introduced to the microporous and coated surface.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Fin and pin-fin structures. S stands for sample. (a) Fin structures with thickness of 1.0 mm—S1. (b) Fin structures with thickness of 0.5 mm—S2. S3 and S4 are the nanostructured fin structures with the same dimensions with S1 and S2, respectively. (c) Pin-fin structures with side length of 1.0 mm × 1.0 mm—S5. (d) Pin-fin structures with side length of 0.5 mm × 1.0 mm—S6. The spacing and height of the fins and pin-fins are all 1.0 mm. (e) SEM image of the nanostructures on S3 and S4. (f) Sketch of the fin and pin-fin structures (side view). The surface area enhancement of each sample compared to flat surface, A* = 2 for S1 and S3, 2.3 for S2 and S4, 1.75 for S5, 2 for S6.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Heat transfer measurement of condensation on aluminum plate surfaces. (a) Temperature measurements of four RTDs located on one side of the copper block, with 101 being closer to the cooling oil loop and 104 near the condensing surface. (b)–(d) Heat flux as a function of subcooling temperature of condensation on the copper block and a bare aluminum surface, coated and un-coated microporous aluminum surfaces, and the oil-infused surface, respectively. The vapor pressure in all experiments was kept constant at 80.0±0.3 kPa. The error bars for experimental data were obtained by considering all measurement uncertainties, including the RTD error, pressure instability in the chamber and temperature instability of the cooling oil.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Condensation heat flux as a function of subcooling temperatures during condensation on fin and pin-fin structures. (a) Fin and pin structures with 1.0 mm thickness. (b) Fin and pin structures with 0.5 mm thickness. (c) Ratio of condensation enhancement C* to surface area enhancements A*. (d) Illustration of the condensation enhancement mechanism of mini-structures and condensation deterioration mechanism of nano/microstructures.



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