Numerical simulation of liquid film formation and its heat transfer through vapor bubble expansion in a microchannel

Junnosuke Okajima, Peter Stephan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


The evaporation of vapor bubbles inside a microchannel is important to realize a device with high cooling performance. The liquid film formed on the solid surface is essential for evaporative heat transfer from solid to fluid; its formation process and heat transfer characteristics need to be investigated. The expansion process of a single vapor bubble via evaporative heat transfer in microchannels was evaluated via a numerical simulation in this study. In the calculation model, the working fluid used was saturated FC-72 at 0.1013 MPa and the channel diameter was 200 µm. The superheat of the initial temperature field and wall were considered as parameters. To evaluate the heat transfer characteristics, the time variation of liquid film thickness was evaluated. The averaged liquid film thickness had a correlation with the capillary number. Additionally, the dominant heat transfer mode was estimated by decomposing the heat transfer rate into the heat-transfer rate through the liquid film, rear edge, and wake. When the superheat was low, the heat transfer mostly occurred via liquid film evaporation; the heat flux through the liquid film could be predicted using the liquid film thickness. On the other hand, in cases of higher superheat, owing to rapid expansion of the vapor bubble, no evaporative heat transfer occurred through the liquid film around the bubble head. It could be inferred from this study that the relationship between the thickness of the thermal boundary layer of the bubble and liquid film thickness is important for predicting the cooling effect of this phenomena. When the vapor bubble grows in the high superheat liquid, the rapid growth makes the liquid film thick, and the thick liquid film prevents the heat transfer between the liquid–vapor interface and heated wall.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1241-1249
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jun


  • Evaporation
  • Liquid film
  • Microchannel
  • Numerical simulation
  • Phase change heat transfer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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