Two Phase, Heat Transefer, Boiling, Nucleate, High Speed, TLC, Saturation


A high pressure pool boiling experiment of pressurized R134a is designed and built, utilizing thermochromatic liquid crystal techniques. Liquid crystals thermo-chromatography uses encapsulated liquid crystals that are sensitive to temperature. When exposed to hot temperatures the crystal reflect a blue/violet color, and when exposed to cooler temperatures it reflects a red/orange color. The color value or hue is proportional to its temperature. Using this technique this experiment is capable of studying the physics and thermodynamics of refrigerants under nucleate pool boiling. The main objective of this experiment was the design of the experimental setup. Various designs were tested and validated, of which all incorporated a pressure resistant chamber constructed out of aluminum and glass viewing ports. Design parameters such as the heating element thickness were verified using a transient FEA thermal model. This model, which was developed in ANSYS, verified that this design would be able to capture the thermal response of the thermochromatic liquid crystals. This analysis concluded that a negligible error of 0.02°C is expected due to transient effects. Difficulties were encountered during early stages of development; most notable were imaging limitations such as low camera frame-rates and poor resolution. Since a TLC technique was used to measure the temperature of the boiling surface, a camera system fast enough to capture the thermal response was needed. At bubble frequencies of 30 nucleations per second, it was necessary for the camera to have much higher frame rates. Through the use of two synchronized cameras, the surface temperature, position, size and shape of the bubbles were recorded simultaneously. Two camera systems were designed and tested. The first system consisted of a high speed CMOS camera capable of capturing 1,000 frames per second, and an RBG CCD color camera capable of 30 Frames per second. However, this system was limited the slow frame rate and low resolution of the RBG camera. The second system used two high resolution and fast shutter speed cameras, which were able to capture fast bubble nucleations. This method required the assumption that under constant operating conditions, the path of one bubble was identical to the next. This method was tested utilizing the high speed camera, and was shown that there was less than a .04% deviation from the path any bubble to that of the next. Detailed analysis of nucleating surface temperatures using thermochromatic liquid crystal technique and temporal-temperature response under various heat flux and at 813.6kPa (118Psia) and 882.5kPa (128Psia) was performed. It is seen that temperature distribution is quite varied in each case. At high pressures the size of nucleation site decreases, giving rise to an increase in the surface temperature. Bubble growth is also analyzed through the use of high speed cameras and compared to temperature distributions. Simultaneous temperature and bubble size measurements provided a correlation between bubble growth and heat transfer. Boiling parameters such as bubble frequency, bubble size, and contact area are also analyzed. From the surface temperature plots, the local and average heat transfer coefficients were calculated as a function of time and bubble dynamics.


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Graduation Date





Kumar, Ranganathan


Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Mechanical, Materials, and Aerospace Engineering

Degree Program

Mechanical Engineering








Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)