A molecular dynamics investigation of boiling heat transfer over wettability thermo-responsive surface

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Original languageEnglish
Article number122856
Journal / PublicationInternational Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer
Online published6 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2022


As one of the most effective heat dissipation technologies, Boiling Heat Transfer is widely used in fields like solar still, nuclear power plants, chips, and sensors. Recently, researchers have experimentally found that the wettability thermo-responsive surface could harvest the advantages of both hydrophilicity and hydrophobicity: It has denser nucleation sites when it is hydrophobic at low superheat, and higher critical heat flux when it switches to hydrophilic surface at high superheat. In this paper, a molecular dynamics study was carried out to deepen our understanding of boiling heat transfer over wettability thermo-responsive surface at the atomic level. In addition to the existing wettability switch mode, we also simulated a reverse mode whose wettability was hydrophilic at low superheat and hydrophobic at high superheat. The simulation results showed that wettability thermo-responsive surfaces under both switch modes were superior to wettability non-responsive ones especially the hydrophilic surface despite that it was thought to have a higher heat transfer efficiency, and the two switch modes themselves also had different heat transfer performance and characteristics. Moreover, three different thermo-responsive ranges were studied, results indicated that the switch range of temperature had an important impact on boiling, and an optimal switch range existed for the wettability thermo-responsive surface. In the end, the potential distribution, phase diagram and interfacial thermal conductance were discussed to further reveal the boiling mechanisms behind wettability thermo-responsive surfaces, conclusions drawn from this paper could provide more insights and conducive suggestions in this field.

Research Area(s)

  • Boiling heat transfer, Hydrophilic and hydrophobic, Molecular dynamic study, Thermo-responsive, Wettability

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