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Turning bubbles on and off during boiling using charged surfactants.


ABSTRACT: Boiling--a process that has powered industries since the steam age--is governed by bubble formation. State-of-the-art boiling surfaces often increase bubble nucleation via roughness and/or wettability modification to increase performance. However, without active in situ control of bubbles, temperature or steam generation cannot be adjusted for a given heat input. Here we report the ability to turn bubbles 'on and off' independent of heat input during boiling both temporally and spatially via molecular manipulation of the boiling surface. As a result, we can rapidly and reversibly alter heat transfer performance up to an order of magnitude. Our experiments show that this active control is achieved by electrostatically adsorbing and desorbing charged surfactants to alter the wettability of the surface, thereby affecting nucleation. This approach can improve performance and flexibility in existing boiling technologies as well as enable emerging or unprecedented energy applications.

SUBMITTER: Cho HJ 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC4639814 | BioStudies | 2015-01-01T00:00:00Z

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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