Boiling transitions during droplet contact on superheated nano/micro-structured surfaces

Navid Saneie, Varun Kulkarni, Kamel Fezzaa, Neelesh Patankar, Sushant Anand*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Manipulating surface topography is one of the most promising strategies for increasing the efficiency of numerous industrial processes involving droplet contact with superheated surfaces. In such scenarios, the droplets may immediately boil upon contact, splash and boil, or could levitate on their own vapor in the Leidenfrost state. In this work we report the outcomes of water droplets coming in gentle contact with designed nano/micro-textured surfaces at a wide range of temperatures as observed using high-speed optical and X-ray imaging. We report a paradoxical increase in the Leidenfrost temperature (TLFP) as the texture spacing is reduced below a critical value (~10 µm). Although droplets on such textured solids appear to boil upon contact, our studies suggest that their behavior is dominated by hydrodynamic instabilities implying that the increase in TLFP may not necessarily lead to enhanced heat transfer. On such surfaces, the droplets display a new regime characterized by splashing accompanied by a vapor jet penetrating through the droplets before they transition to the Leidenfrost state. We provide a comprehensive map of boiling behavior of droplets over a wide range of texture spacings that may have significant implications towards applications such as electronics cooling, spray cooling, nuclear reactor safety and containment of fire calamities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalUnknown Journal
StatePublished - Mar 24 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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