First Advisor

Laird C. Brodie

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

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


Environmental Science and Management




Nucleation, Heat -- Transmission, Liquid helium



Physical Description

x, 88 leaves: ill. 28 cm.


We report the results of a series of experiments in three interrelated areas: light induced nucleation of vapor bubbles in superheated liquid helium 4, transient heat transfer in liquid helium isotopes 3 and 4, and homogeneous nucleation of vapor bubbles in superheated liquid helium 3. This work has resulted in significant contributions in each of these particular areas. Our transient heat transfer work has resulted in extremely high temperature measurements of the Kapitza thermal boundary conductance limits in helium 3 and 4, in measurements of the delay time to the onset of film boiling over a wide range of bath temperatures in helium 4, and in a determination of bubble growth rates in helium 4. These measurements have been compared with theory and have in some cases allowed the extension or elucidation of that theory. We have characterized the so called "light effect" and established photographically that small amounts of visible light will cause the formation of vapor bubbles at the interface of a solid and superheated liquid helium 4 and that this vapor can influence the quasi-steady-state heat flux vs temperature hysteresis curve. Finally, we have measured the homogeneous nucleation temperature of liquid helium 3 and found good agreement with the predictions of the Becker-Doring-Volmer-Zel'dovich Frenkel nucleation theory. This work is shown to have applications to practical cryogenic engineering, to further understanding of basic heat transfer and nucleation theory, and to practical and theoretical environmental and resource considerations.


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Portland State University. Environmental Sciences and Resources Ph. D. Program.

Persistent Identifier