Abstract

This study presents a theoretically-based model of the Leidenfrost point (LFP); the minimum liquid/solid interface temperature required to support film boiling on a smooth surface. The model is structured around bubble nucleation, growth, and merging criteria, as well as surface cavity size characterization. It is postulated that for liquid/solid interface temperatures at and above the LFP, a sufficient number of cavities (about 20%) are activated and the bubble growth rates are sufficiently fast that a continuous vapor layer is established nearly instantaneously between the liquid and the solid. The model is applicable to both pools of liquid and sessile droplets. The effect of surface cavity distribution on the LFP predicted by the model is verified for boiling on aluminum, nickel and silver surfaces, as well as on a liquid gallium surface. The model exhibits good agreement with experimental sessile droplet data for water, FC-72, and acetone. While the model was developed for smooth surfaces on which the roughness asperities are of the same magnitude as the cavity radii (0.1–1.0 μm), it is capable of predicting the boundary or limiting Leidenfrost temperature for rougher surfaces with good accuracy.

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