Influence of wettability due to laser-texturing on critical heat flux in vertical flow boiling

Joseph L. Bottini, Vineet Kumar, Sabrina Hammouti, David Ruzic, Caleb S. Brooks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The critical heat flux (CHF) marks the upper limit of safe operation of heat transfer systems that utilize two-phase boiling heat transfer. In a heat-flux-controlled system, exceeding the CHF results in rapid temperature excursions which can be catastrophic for system components. Recent studies have focused on the influence of surface wettability on the departure from nucleate boiling (DNB) through surface modifications and coatings, though many of these studies are limited to pool boiling systems. In this study, the surface wettability influence is studied on the boiling curves and specifically the point of DNB. A femtosecond laser is used to texture the surface to change the wettability from hydrophilic to hydrophobic. A parametric study is performed with mass flux, pressure, and inlet subcooling in a vertical rectangular channel that is heated from one side. CHF excursions are triggered under various system conditions and are compared with existing models. For the experimental conditions considered, the hydrophobic surface showed delayed onset of nucleate boiling compared to the hydrophilic surface, shifting the boiling curves to higher wall superheat. The hydrophobic surface also showed significantly lower CHF for the same system conditions and less sensitivity to changes in subcooling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)806-817
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer
StatePublished - Dec 2018


  • Critical heat flux
  • Departure from nucleate boiling
  • Flow boiling
  • Wettability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes

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