First Advisor

Erik Bodegom

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Environmental Sciences and Resources: Physics


Environmental Science and Management




Liquid nitrogen -- Thermal properties, Nucleation, Heat -- Transmission



Physical Description

3, ix, 102 leaves: ill. 28 cm.


With the advent of the new" high Tc superconductors as well as the increasing use of cryo-cooled conventional electronics, liquid nitrogen will be one of the preferred cryogens used to cool these materials. Consequently, a more thorough understanding of the heat transfer characteristics of liquid nitrogen is required. In these investigations the transient heating characteristics of liquid nitrogen to states of nucleate and film boiling under different liquid flow conditions are examined. Using a metal hot wire/plate technique, it is verified that there is a premature transition to film boiling in the transient case at power levels as much as 30 percent lower than under steady state nucleate boiling conditions. It is also shown that the premature transition can be reduced or eliminated depending on the flow velocity The second part of this research analyses the nucleation (boiling) process from a dynamical systems point of view. By observing how the boiling system variables evolve and fluctuate over time, it is hoped that physical insight and predictive information can be gained. One goal is to discover some indicator or signature in the data that anticipates the transition from nucleate boiling to film/boiling. Some of the important variables that make up the boiling system are the temperature of the heater and the heat flux through the heater surface into the liquid nitrogen. Results, gained by plotting the system’s trajectory in the heat flux-temperature plane, are that on average the system follows a counterclockwise trajectory. A physical model is constructed that explains this behavior. Also, as the applied heater power approaches levels at which the transition to film is known to occur, the area per unit time swept out in the heat flux-temperature plane is seen to reach a maximum. This could be of practical interest as the threshold to film boiling can be anticipated and possibly prevented.


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