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Nano Lett. 2009 Feb;9(2):548-53. doi: 10.1021/nl8026857.

Nanowires for enhanced boiling heat transfer.

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Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.


Boiling is a common mechanism for liquid-vapor phase transition and is widely exploited in power generation and refrigeration devices and systems. The efficacy of boiling heat transfer is characterized by two parameters: (a) heat transfer coefficient (HTC) or the thermal conductance; (b) the critical heat flux (CHF) limit that demarcates the transition from high HTC to very low HTC. While increasing the CHF and the HTC has significant impact on system-level energy efficiency, safety, and cost, their values for water and other heat transfer fluids have essentially remained unchanged for many decades. Here we report that the high surface tension forces offered by liquids in nanowire arrays made of Si and Cu can be exploited to increase both the CHF and the HTC by more than 100%.


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