Microbubble dynamics and heat transfer in boiling droplets

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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Dissipating large heat fluxes from a surface is critically important in numerous industrial and natural applications. Boiling based spray cooling and surface texturing are two of the most promising methods being investigated to address this problem. Although our understanding on these topics has significantly improved over past decades, critical gaps remain in the knowledgebase stymieing the realization of their full potential. As an example, while bubble growth in pool boiling have been investigated in detail, comparatively little is known about how the bubbles evolve inside boiling drops. In the present work, we have investigated for the first time, the microbubble dynamics inside water droplets boiling on superhydrophilic textured substrates using high-speed X-ray phase contrast imaging (XRPCI). Our observations show that the transient bubble density variation follows similar characteristics irrespective of the texture spacing at a given surface temperature. For an example microstructure, we found that the number of discrete bubbles on the surface decreases as temperature is increased although their growth rate increases. We observe that bubble growth is highly non-uniform during the lifetime of a drop on the surface. Initially, bubbles grow under diffusion-limited regime, but at later times they grow as ~t1.45 due to combined effects of coalescence and evaporation. In some conditions, we found that bubbles shrink dramatically after the initial growth spurt presumably due to severe quenching of the surface, and migration of bubbles on the surface. Using the bubble sizes, for the first time we analyzed the heat flux removed by a single bubble and also by all the bubbles at a given time. We find that the highest dissipation through latent-heat component (~600 W/cm2) occurs just in the beginning and thereafter it decreases. We expect that our findings and the analysis would guide further work on the topic and will aid in the overarching goal of engineering surfaces that are more efficient in boiling heat transfer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number121413
JournalInternational Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • Boiling
  • Bubble growth
  • Heat transfer
  • Spray cooling
  • Textured surfaces

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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