Direct Measurement of Boiling Water Heat Flux for Predicting and Controlling Near Critical Heat Flux

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Virginia Tech

A novel method for measuring heat flux of boiling water is designed and built to study critical heat flux (CHF) and observe the response of a heat flux sensor when CHF occurs. A high temperature heat flux sensor is embedded in the wall of a pipe to get a direct measurement of the surface heat flux and sensor temperature. By submerging the pipe in water and applying a controlled heat flux to the inside diameter over the area where the sensor is located, boiling is created on the outer surface while measuring the heat flux. The heat flux is gradually increased up to CHF and the heat flux response is observed to determine if the heat flux sensor could sense CHF when it occurred. The heat flux sensor is able to consistently measure the value for CHF, which is approximately 510 kW/m" for this system. It is also observed during the experiments that the heat flux response undergoes an inflection of the heat transfer coefficient at a consistent temperature just before reaching CHF. This observed inflection caused the heat flux response to deviate from its cubic relationship with the temperature and drastically increase for a very small change in temperature. This inflection response can be used as an indication for approaching CHF and can also be used to approximate its value without prior knowledge of when it occurs.

heat flux sensor, boiling, critical heat flux