Structure of high-performance evaporators for space application

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2006 Sep;1077:668-79. doi: 10.1196/annals.1362.015.

Abstract

A new structure of cold plates, where an unheated auxiliary channel is installed to supply liquid directly to the bottom of coalesced flattened bubbles in a narrow heated channel, is tested to investigate the increase in critical heat flux. Assuming the application to the laser solar power system, a large heating surface with a length of 150 mm in the flow direction is employed, and a narrow channel structure is adopted to reduce the size of cold plates, where the gap sizes are selected as 5 mm and 2 mm. Experiments are performed for water as a test liquid at inlet subcooling of 15 K under near atmospheric pressure. Inlet liquid velocity is varied from 0.065 m/s to 0.6m/s for the upward flow on ground. A value of critical heat flux of 2.2 x 10(6) W/m2 is obtained for 5-mm gap size at the inlet velocity of 0.2 m/s. At low liquid flow rate, the structure realizes the CHF values larger by 2.5 times than those for the normal heated channel without additional liquid supply. A new method to evaluate the performance of cold plates is proposed to take account of the variation in the size of heating surface, inlet liquid velocity, and subcooling that influence the CHF values. The validity of the proposed structure of the cold plate for the increase in critical heat flux is confirmed.