Date of Award

Spring 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mechanical Engineering


James Cotton


Anthony Robinson



Committee Member

Ross Judd


In an effort to better understand the physical mechanisms responsible for pool boiling heat transfer, an analytical model is developed that better describes the changing shape and size of a growing bubble. Indeed, any analysis of thermal transport due to nucleate pool boiling requires bubble frequency predictions which are intimately linked to bubble volume. The model is developed and validated for quasi-static bubble growth due to gas injection and for bubble growth due to vaporization within the heat-transfer controlled growth regime; it highlights the need to include the asymmetric nature of growing bubbles when modeling bubble growth.

In addition, a numerical study of quasi-static bubble shape for both adiabatic bubble growth and vapour bubble growth provides insight into the dependence the bubble shape evolution has on the Bond number. In so doing, bubble profiles generated from a numerical treatment of the Capillary equation are benchmarked to quasi-static gas injected bubble formations and to heat-transfer controlled vapour bubble formations.

The numerical treatment of bubble shape evolution leads to a simplifying bubble geometry for low Bond number applications. The geometric model accounts for bubble shape transformation throughout the bubble growth cycle including the necking phenomenon. An analytical model of quasi-static adiabatic bubble growth is accordingly developed based on the proposed low Bond number geometric model; it is coupled with a geometric detachment relation and a force balance detachment criterion that are dependent on the Bond number. The resulting predicted bubble growth characteristics, such as profile, volume, centre of gravity and aspect ratio, are validated with the benchmarked numerical treatment of the problem.

Furthermore, the low Bond number geometric model is applied to bubble growth due to vaporization. In order to solve the mass-energy balance at the vapour bubble interface, a spherical surface area is commonly assumed. This leads to the need for correction factors and provides little insight into the physical mechanism responsible for bubble shape. In this study, the transitioning shape of a vapour bubble is considered in the integral analysis of the interfacial mass-energy balance. The model predicts the following bubble growth characteristics: profile, volume, centre of gravity, and aspect ratio.

McMaster University Library

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