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ME 315 - Heat Transfer Laboratory

Experiment No. 5
Bi Biot number, -
C constant in Eq. (1), W/(m2 Km)
Cp specific heat, J/(kg K)
D diameter, m
g gravitational constant, m/sec2
h overall heat transfer coefficient, W/(m2 K)
hfg latent heat of vaporization, kJ/kg
k thermal conductivity, W/(m K)

qmin minimum heat flux, W/m2

qmax critical heat flux for nucleate pool boiling, W/m2
qs boiling heat flux, W/m2
t time, sec
T temperature, K
Tbp boiling point, K
Ti initial temperature, K
Ts surface temperature, K
Te excess temperature, K
surface tension, N/m
l liquid density, kg/m3
v vapor density, kg/m3

The objective of this experiment is to observe the regimes of nucleate, transition, and film boiling in a pool of
saturated liquid, to determine the rate of boiling, and to construct the boiling curve.

Concepts Emphasized
1. Energy balance and conditions justifying the lumped capacitance method;
2. variation of the boiling heat flux with excess temperature - peculiar features of the boiling curve;
3. magnitude of the overall heat transfer coefficient;
4. definition and physical significance of the critical heat flux and Leidenfrost point; and
5. transient nature of the problem and time variation of the surface temperature.

Pre-Lab Section: Theoretical Analysis

The experiment is designed to illustrate the characteristics of the boiling phase-change phenomenon. It involves
observing the rate of boiling of a saturated liquid on the surface of a submerged hot object and measuring the
variation of the object temperature with time. The object is initially at a temperature (Troom 273K) far above the
boiling point of the liquid (in this case, liquid nitrogen: Tbp77K). By measuring the time variation of the object's
temperature, the rate of boiling, and the boiling curve can be constructed based upon the application of the
lumped capacitance method. A sample boiling curve is given in Figure 1. To prepare for the experiment, which
could be performed prior to when the topic has been discussed in the Heat Transfer course, the student should
complete the following items:

1. Review sections 10.2, 10.3, and 10.4 of the text by Incropera et al., 4th ed., 5th ed., or 6th edition.

2. Consider a hot metal sphere, initially at a temperature of Ti, that is suddenly quenched in a large pool of
saturated liquid at Tbp<Ti (see Fig. 2). If the excess temperature, (TiTbp) is between about 5 and 30C, what
is this boiling regime called? Describe the boiling phenomena in this regime.
Figure 1. Boiling curve for water including regime illustrations and labeling of key points.

Nitrog en Dewar

Stand for Dewar

and Sphere

Metal Sphere

Sig nal


Figure 2. Experimental setup for measuring transient temperature of a metal sphere cooled in liquid nitrogen
(not to scale).

3. If the excess temperature, (TiTbp) is beyond the Leidenfrost point, will there be direct contact between the
liquid phase and the surface of the sphere? What do we call this regime of pool boiling?

4. Using the lumped capacitance method, derive a differential equation for the transient temperature response
of the sphere. The boiling heat flux takes an unusual form, so leave the heat flux as a variable for now.

5. If the metal sphere in item 2 above is copper, has a diameter of 2.54 102 m, an initial temperature of Ti =
773K, and the liquid is saturated water at 373K and 1 atm, estimate the time for the sphere to become
partially wetted by the liquid phase (i.e., the time for the sphere to reach the Leidenfrost point at 493K).
Hint: Approximate the appropriate segment of the boiling curve shown in Fig. 10.4 of the text (p. 540 in 4 th
ed., or p. 598 in 5th ed., or p. 624 in 6th ed.) by the following expression,

qs C Tem (1)

and integrate the differential equation derived in item 4.

6. Beyond this time, what will be the regime of pool boiling?

7. Although the physical size of the sphere is small and its thermal conductivity is high, it is possible that the
Biot number significantly exceeds 0.1. If this is the case, possibly in the nucleate and transition regimes,
then the lumped analysis is not a good approach. That is, we would have to consider the radial variation of
the temperature. To estimate the heat transfer coefficient, you may use the Heisler charts shown below. If
the sphere properties and the center, surface and initial temperatures are known from measurements,
describe in words how you would use Figs. D.7, D.8, D.9 shown below (in Appendix D of textbook, 4th and
5th ed. only) to deduce the heat transfer coefficient h and the heat flux q s .

8. Estimate the value of the critical heat flux using equation 7 of this lab manual. Explain the physical
significance associated with this value.
9. Estimate the total amount of water that boils away when the sphere cools from 773 to 378 K.
10. Get familiar with the experimental setup and read the experimental procedures carefully, so that you can
effectively perform the experiment in the next meeting. More importantly, also review once again the
section on the Laboratory Safety Instructions for handling liquid nitrogen - it may cause severe burns if
handled inappropriately! Please note that the supplied safety goggles must be worn when conducting the

DAQView Setup Parameters

Thermocouple Type: T
Units: K
Number of Thermocouples: 2 ( +CJC )
Start Condition: Manual Start
Stop Condition: Manual Stop
Scan Rate: 4 scans/secs
Averaging: Enabled: 100
Suggested Monitoring Method: Digital Meters

Experimental Procedures
1. The teaching assistant will give a brief discussion of the experimental procedure. The experiment is of a
relatively short time duration, and could be repeated if necessary. The data acquisition system will
acquire the transient temperature data, and curve fits of the temperature will once again be determined
using Excel.
2. The experimental apparatus consists of a dewar filled with liquid nitrogen and a metal sphere with two
thermocouples attached to it in order to determine the transient sphere temperature. The sphere, initially
at room temperature, is to be quenched in a bath of liquid nitrogen to induce rapid boiling of the liquid
phase in the region around the sphere. You should choose one of the two metal spheres and record its
size in Table 1.
3. Setup the data acquisition program.
4. To prepare for the run, fill the dewar with liquid nitrogen and connect the thermocouples that have been
welded onto the sphere to the data acquisition system.
5. Properly position the sphere and quench it in the bath of liquid nitrogen. Simultaneously, click the
Manual Trigger button in the DAQView popup window to start the data acquisition. Also, click the
Start button in the digital meters window so that you can monitor the temperature of the sphere.
6. Owing to very large magnitudes of the boiling heat transfer coefficient, the sphere temperature will drop
rapidly with time. In most cases, it will take less than five minutes to cool the sphere to a sufficiently
low temperature (say, no more than 5 to 10K above the boiling point of liquid nitrogen, which has a
value of 77 K at 1 atm). Observe closely the boiling phenomena occurring in this fast transient period.
Once the temperature has reached a minimum steady value, stop the data acquisition and the chart by
clicking the Stop button in both the DAQView popup window and the charts window. Then, carefully
remove the sphere from the dewar and place it in a dewar filled with water. Such placement of the
extremely cold sphere in the ("hot") water will produce an interesting freezing problem, which you
should observe!
7. Once the data acquisition has been stopped, the data will automatically be imported into Excel. Column
A corresponds to the cold-junction circuit temperature (which can be deleted), while Columns B and C
correspond to the temperatures of the two thermocouples in the sphere. The rows correspond with time;
knowing that the scan rate is 4 scans per second, insert a column on the far left and enter the time.
8. Since the experiment is of short duration, you may run it multiple times to ensure your results are
consistent and accurate. Also, be sure each student visually observes the boiling process during an
experiment or separately without data acquisition. Record your observations and use them to answer the
discussion points at the end of this lab report.
9. Repeat the experiment for the other sphere. Be sure to measure and record the sphere size.
10. Utilizing the output from the data acquisition system, each student should process and analyze each set of
data. Use the average of the two measured temperatures as the data for Ts. Since you should have started
the data acquisition before the sphere was immersed in the liquid nitrogen, there will be some data points
in the initial part of the data file that report a steady, room temperature. You should discard these data
points from the curve fit procedure. We are interested in the portions of the data wherein the temperature
is changing.

Data Reduction
1. Begin by constructing a table similar to Table 1. Calculate Ts for both spheres by averaging the
temperatures of the two thermocouples. For each sphere, plot the center, surface and average temperature
vs. time. What is the substantial difference between the spheres? Describe the difference in terms of a
theoretical assumption discussed in the pre-lab. Present both temperature plots in your final report, but
only perform the rest of this analysis on the sphere that conforms to the initial assumptions used during
the pre-lab and explain why you choose that sphere. (If you are unsure of which to use, ask the TA.)

2. There are several ways one can evaluate the time derivative of the transient temperature. One
approximate way, which also may be subject to significant errors, is to express the derivative in terms of
finite differences. The finite difference method is quite tedious to apply, and it will not be used in this
experiment. Instead, Excel will be employed. This package contains a curve-fitting program, which takes
the temperature vs. time data and expresses it in the form
T (t ) a t
i 0

Once the coefficients ai , i 0,, I , are known, it is a simple matter to differentiate Eq. (2a) with respect
to time to obtain

ai i t i 1 (2b)
dt i 1

The use of a polynomial fit, such as Eq. (2), may not yield good results in some situations. This is the
case for the boiling experiment and most easily explained by examining Fig. 3. Near times t * and t * * ,
the rate of change of temperature changes very rapidly. That is, the slope changes significantly over a
very small time interval. Any curve fitting technique will have problems representing this change in the
slope. To circumvent this problem, the data will be split into three parts. Use a fourth order polynomial
fit for the portion of the curve given by t t * and a third order polynomial fit for the portions of the

Figure 3. Sample temperature curve.

curve t* t t * * and t t * * . An ideal curve fit will yield an equal value and slope where the two
curve fits meet.

To obtain a good curve fit, trial-and-error adjustments will be required. Improvements can be made by
changing the location of t * and t * * , overlapping the data where the curve fits meet and removing any
excess data at the beginning and end of the temperature curve. After constructing the boiling curve,
adjust these parameters a few times to get the best curve fit you can.

3. Assemble a worksheet in Excel similar to that shown in Tables 1, 2, and 3 below. For the indicated
calculations, obtain k (thermal conductivity of copper) and Cp (heat capacity of copper) from Table A.1
of Incropera and DeWitt (use values for pure copper) for the appropriate temperature range.

4. Calculate the value of the boiling heat flux q s using

VC p dTs
q s (3)
A dt

where the derivative dTs / dt is obtained from derivatives of the three polynomial fits for t t * ,
t* t t * * , and t t * * .

5. Determine the corresponding value of the overall heat transfer coefficient, h , from:

q s
h (4)

where Te is the excess temperature defined by

Te Ts Tbp (5)

The boiling point, Tbp, of liquid nitrogen at 1 atm is 77K. With the value of h at time t, the corresponding
value of the Biot number, Bi, can be obtained as:

Bi (6)

where D is the diameter of the sphere. Is the lumped capacitance method valid throughout the boiling
period? If the lumped capacitance analysis is not applicable, then you should use the measured centerline
temperatures and the approach descibed in item 8 of the preparation section to obtain h and the heat

6. Using Excel, plot (on log-log scales) all values of q s vs. Te obtained from Table 3. Construct the
boiling curve for liquid nitrogen by connecting all the data points. Indicate the following characteristics
of pool boiling on the plot:
a. nucleate boiling region;
b. transition region;
c. film boiling region;
d. location of the Leidenfrost point; and
e. location of the critical heat flux.

7. Assuming the liquid density to be much larger than the vapor density, the critical heat flux, q max
nucleate pool boiling can be expressed by

1/ 4
g ( l v )
q max . h fg v
0149 (7)

8. where hfg is the latent heat of vaporization, l the liquid density, v the vapor density, the surface
using the following properties
tension, and g the acceleration due to gravity. Calculate the value of q max
for saturated nitrogen:

l = 808 kg/m3
v = 2.25 kg/m3
11. 77 103 N/m
hfg = 197.5 kJ/kg

How does the calculated value compare with the measured result?

Table 1 Sphere Properties.

Sphere Properties Value
Diameter, D
Specific Heat, Cp
Thermal Conductivity, k

Table 2 Polynomial Fit Constants to Experimental Temperature Data.

a0 a1 a2 a3 a4
Curve Fit
(K) (K/s) (K/s2) (K/s3) (K/s4)
# 1 Constants:

# 2 Constants:
# 3 Constants:

Table 3 Experimental Data and Results From Calculations.

Time Ts1 Ts2 Ts dTs/dt q"s Te h Bi
(sec) (K) (K) (K) (K/s) (W/m ) (K) 2
(W/m K)

9. For the case in which the characteristic length of the surface is large compared to the mean bubble
, at the Leidenfrost point can be expressed by
diameter, the minimum heat flux, q min

1/ 4
g ( l v )
q min 0.09h fg v 2 (8)
( l v )

and compare with the measured

Using the properties for saturated nitrogen, calculate the value of qmin

10. Estimate the total amount of liquid nitrogen that needs to be boiled away in order to cool the copper
sphere from room temperature to 77 K. Is the estimated value consistent with what you have observed?

11. Calculate the predicted uncertainty of Bi and q s , given in Eqns. (3) and (6), respectively. Discuss the
meaning of the uncertainty and the effect this result has on the apparent accuracy of the experiment and
the accuracy of the lumped capacitance method.

12. Complete your report, making comments on:

a. accuracy of the experimental results;
b. difficulty in constructing the boiling curve;
c. qualitatively compare the difference in the thermal time constant between this experiment and the
natural convection cooling experiment (if not performed yet, ask instructor);
d. peculiar behavior of the transient cooling rate;
e. validity of the lumped capacitance method;
f. comparison of experimental results with the accepted correlations for the critical and minimum heat
h. the different boiling regimes.

M.E. 315 - Heat Transfer Lab

Evaluation Form

EXPERIMENT 5 --Pool Boiling in a Saturated Liquid

This form is to be filled out by each student at the end of each lab experiment, and turned in with the lab report.
The purpose is to help the instructor(s) make changes or modifications for the future. Your comments will in no
way affect your grade--please be honest in your evaluation.

1. Approximately how much time did you spend on this experiment?

________hours in-class time, ________hours outside of class time

2. What was your overall impression of the experiment? (You can elaborate on any of these in 3. below.)

(a) Terrible! I hated it! Why?

(b) Didn't like it much, needs these improvements:

(c) Satisfactory-some minor changes needed:

(d) I enjoyed it and learned a lot. Comments?

(e) Fantastic! I loved it! Why?

3. Please give any other specific comments below, which will help us improve the experiment for next