The onset of flow boiling of a liquid is linked to the superheat condition that is necessary to activate the nucleation sites on contacting surfaces. The nucleation sites are usually represented by cavities in the rough surface of the heat exchanger. On smooth surfaces, the region where bubble detachment does not occur due to the lack of superheating may constitute a serious limitation for microfluidic devices. This paper shows the first experimental evidence that the position of the active nucleation sites can be controlled through chemical patterning of smooth surfaces: in this study, the heated surfaces are chemically grafted with alkylsilane self-assembled monolayers by microcontact printing. The analysis of the propagation of the bubble zone area quantitatively shows that the bubbles remain localized on top of the grafted zone and that, in the initial phase of the experiment, the center of mass of the bubble zone only moves along the vertical axis, without lateral drift.
|Number of pages||5|
|Publication status||Published - 2 Jun 2009|