The effect of surface roughness on the pool boiling heat transfer of water was investigated on superhydrophilic aluminum surfaces. The formation of nanoscale protrusions on the aluminum surface was confirmed after immersing it in boiling water, which modified surface wettability to form a superhydrophilic surface. The effect of surface roughness was examined at different average roughness (Ra) values ranging from 0.11–2.93 μm. The boiling heat transfer coefficients increased with an increase in roughness owing to the increased number of cavities. However, the superhydrophilic aluminum surfaces exhibited degradation of the heat transfer coefficients when compared with copper surfaces owing to the flooding of promising cavities. The superhydrophilic aluminum surfaces exhibited a higher critical heat flux (CHF) than the copper surfaces. The CHF was 1,650 kW/m2 for Ra = 0.11 μm, and it increased to 2,150 kW/m2 for Ra = 0.35 μm. Surface roughness is considered to affect CHF as it improves the capillary wicking on the superhydrophilic surface. However, further increase in surface roughness above 0.35 μm did not augment the CHF, even at Ra = 2.93 μm. This upper limit of the CHF appears to result from the hydrodynamic limit on the superhydrophilic surface, because the roughest surface with Ra = 2.93 μm still showed a faster liquid spreading speed.

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