By generating single bubbles on a micro-heater at different wall superheats, an experimental study of miniature-scale pool boiling heat transfer has been performed to provide a fundamental understanding of the heater size effect. In this study, the constant-temperature microheater is set at different temperatures by an electronic feedback control system. The heat transfer history during the lifetime of a single bubble which includes nucleation, growth, detachment and departure has been measured. The boiling curve obtained from the microheater is composed of two regimes which are separated by a peak heat flux. It is suggested that in the lower superheat regime, the boiling is dominated by liquid rewetting and micro-layer evaporation, while in the higher superheat regime, conduction through the vapor film and micro-convection plays the key heat transfer role as the heater is covered by vapor all the time. In general, boiling on microheaters is characterized by larger bubble departure sizes, smaller bubble growth rates due to the dryout of microlayer as the bubble grows, and higher bubble incipience superheat. As the heater size decreases, the boiling curve shifts towards higher heat fluxes with corresponding higher superheats.

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