on May 5th, 2016

Researchers at Oregon State University in the United States have discovered a new method of boiling water that utilizes new technology. They have published their findings in the Scientific Reports journal under the title Large-scale Generation of Patterned Bubble Arrays on Printed Bi-functional Boiling Surfaces.

The researchers investigated bubble nucleation control to attempt to enhance boiling heat transfer performance, according to the abstract of their report. 

We report a novel bi-functional heterogenous surface structure that is capable of tuning bubble nucleation, growth and departure dynamics.

Heterogenous surfaces with various configurations were fabricated and their bubble dynamics were examined at elevated heat flux, revealing various nucleate boiling phenomena. In particular, aligned and patterned bubbles with a tunable departure frequency and diamater were demonstrated in a boiling experiement for the first time. 

The researchers have filed a patent application for the method they have discovered. The researchers say the method includes the boiling of water and the creation of steam. 

Chih-hung Chang, a professor of electrical engineering at the OSU College of Engineering said: "One of the key limitations of electronic devices is the heat they generate, and something that helps dissipate that heat will help them operate at faster speeds and prevent failure. The more bubbles you can generate, the more cooling you can achieve." 

Engineering the wettability contrast of the surface holds great potential to enhance the heat transfer in both boiling and condensation proccesses. 

The bi-functional boiling surfaces were fabricated on large-size stainless steel substrates using fleible and scalable approach in contrast to much more expensive photolithography and etching processes. 

The discoveries the team has made will allegedly assist industrial-sized steam boilers achieve their goals more efficiently and will have an effect on electricity production in electric generating facilities, according to Science Daily. 

The newly discovered method enables the engineers to induce and control boiling bubble formations. They showed the possibilities of this by forming bubbles in the letters 'USO'. 

EIT Stock Image Credit: Oregon State University

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