Peering Inside the Kettle

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Here natural convection is explored experimentally in a quasi-2D environment. The researchers demonstrate how this phenomenon, which is much like that seen in a boiling pot, can be investigated by measuring the refractive distortions caused by the thin heated fluid layer. They also demonstrate types of boiling that can occur.  Typically, bubbles nucleate at the heated surface and then rise to pull hot fluid with them.  At high enough temperatures above the liquid’s boiling point, however, an unstable layer of vapor can form over the heated surface.  This “boiling crisis” or critical heat flux produces a marked reduction in heat transfer due to the insulation provided by the vapor layer. (Video credit: S. Wildeman et al.)

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