Superhydrophobic surfaces have gained attention as a potential mechanism for increasing condensation heat transfer rates. Various aspects related to condensation heat transfer are explored. Adiabatic, air-water mixtures are used to explore the influence of hydrophobicity on two-phase flows and the hydrodynamics which might be present in flow condensation environments. Pressure drop measurements in a rectangular channel with one superhydrophobic wall (cross-section approximately 0.37 X 10 mm) are obtained, revealing a reduction in the pressure drop for two-phase flow compared to a control scenario. The observed reduction is approximately 10% greater than the reduction that is observed for single-phase flow (relative to a classical channel). Carbon nanotubes have been used to create superhydrophobic coatings due to their ability to offer a relatively uniform nanostructure. However, as-grown carbon nanotubes often require the addition of a thin-film hydrophobic coating to render them superhydrophobic, and fine control of the overall nanostructure is difficult. This work demonstrates the utility of using carbon infiltration to layer amorphous carbon on multi-walled nanotubes to achieve superhydrophobic behavior with tunable geometry. The native surface can be rendered superhydrophobic with a vacuum pyrolysis treatment, with contact angles as high as 160 degrees and contact angle hysteresis less than 2-3 degrees. Drop-size distribution is an important aspect of heat transfer modeling that is difficult to measure for small drop sizes. The present work uses a numerical simulation of condensation to explore the influence of nucleation site distribution approach, nucleation site density, contact angle, maximum drop size, heat transfer modeling to individual drops, and minimum jumping size on the distribution function and overall heat transfer rate. The simulation incorporates the possibility of coalescence-induced jumping over a range of sizes. Results of the simulation are compared with previous theoretical models and the impact of the assumptions used in those models is explored. Results from the simulation suggest that when the contact angle is large, as on superhydrophobic surfaces, the heat transfer may not be as sensitive to the maximum drop-size as previously supposed. Furthermore, previous drop-size distribution models may under-predict the heat transfer rate at high contact angles. Condensate drop behavior (jumping, non-jumping, and flooding) and size distribution are shown to be dependent on the degree of subcooling and nanostructure size. Drop-size distributions for surfaces experiencing coalescence-induced jumping are obtained experimentally. Understanding the drop-size distribution in the departure region is important since drops in this size are expected to contribute significantly to the overall heat transfer rate.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Mechanical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





superhydrophobic surfaces, condensation, two-phase flow, drop-size distribution



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Engineering Commons