The effect of wettability on boiling heat transfer (BHT) coefficient and critical heat flux (CHF) in pool boiling of water on hydrophilic surfaces having different contact angles was investigated. Hot alkali solutions were utilized to promote cupric and cuprous oxide growth which exhibited micro and nanoscale structures on copper surfaces, with thicknesses on the order of a couple of micrometers. These structure and surface energy variations result in different levels of wettability and roughness while maintaining the effusivity of the bare copper surface. The study showed that the BHT coefficient has an inverse relationship to wettability; the BHT coefficient decreases as wettability increases. Furthermore, it was shown that this dependency between BHT coefficient and wettability is more significant than the relationship between BHT coefficient and surface roughness. The CHF was also found to increase with increases in wettability and roughness. For the most hydrophilic surface tested in this study, CHF values were recorded near the 2,000 kW/m2 mark. This value is compared with maximum values reported in literature for water on non-structured flat surfaces without area enhancements. Based on these results it is postulated that there exists a true hydrodynamic CHF limit for pool boiling with water on flat surfaces, very near 2,000 kW/m2, independent of heater material, representing an 80% increase in the limit suggested by Zuber [1].

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