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Boiling Heat Transfer with Controlled Arrays of Nucleation Sites on Silicon Surfaces

Funding body

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)


Co-investigator: Prof. D. Kenning
Co-investigator: Prof. T. G. Karayiannis
Co-investigator: Dr K. Sefiane

Project description

Brunel University (Professors D. Kenning and T. G. Karayiannis) and Edinburgh University (Dr Khellil Sefiane and Prof Anthony Walton) are partners in this grant awarded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) for fundamental studies of pool nucleate boiling heat transfer, applicable to the cooling of highly-rated silicon microcircuits, microreactors and fuel cells. The research work will be carried out in association with Prof Iztok Golobič, Faculty of Science, University of Ljubljana (Slovenia), Dr Jost von Hardenberg, CIMA, University of Genoa (Italy), Dr Ralph Nelson, Los Alamos National Laboratory (USA).

The objective of the project is to investigate the interactions between bubble nucleation sites and to incorporate them in a numerical simulation that will be used to guide the design of arrays of sites for high heat loads typical of industrial applications. Two PhD scholarships will be awarded at Brunel and Edinburgh Univeristies. The student at Brunel will undertake numerical simulations with the program developed at Ljubljana University, based on a program developed earlier by Dr Nelson at LANL. Initial experimental data obtained at Edinburgh will be processed to determine the statistical significance of different modes of site interaction, leading to improvements to the simulation and the development of algorithms for active control. The student at Edinburgh will design and build the experimental boiling rig, perform the experiments and interpret the physical mechanisms of site interactions. The student will assist a postdoctoral researcher in the development and fabrication of combined arrays of micro-cavities and heaters. Arrays of micro-heaters have already been fabricated and used successfully.

The project depends on close collaboration between Brunel, Edinburgh and Ljubljana. Both students will be expected to spend periods working away from their home institution, including visits to Ljubljana, to exchange ideas and expertise. Applicants must be fluent in spoken and written English and effective team members. They must have a strong knowledge of fluid mechanics and thermodynamics. Applicants for the studentship at Brunel University should also be competent programmers and have some knowledge of statistics and control theory. Applicants for Edinburgh University should also be skilled in experimentation and have some knowledge of electronics.