Transition and Film Boiling

  • S. Mostafa Ghiaasiaan
Reference work entry


Transition boiling, minimum film boiling (minimum heat flux), and film boiling are reviewed. The review will address pool and external flow boiling in Sect. 2. A discussion of internal flow boiling, with emphasis on post-critical heat flux regimes, will then follow in Sect. 3.

Pool boiling occurs without an imposed forced flow, where fluid flow is caused by phase change and natural convective only. In external flow boiling, the heated surface may be subject to an imposed fluid flow; however, the fluid field is much larger than the heated surface, and the heat transfer and phase change processes that occur at or near the heated surface have a minimal effect on the properties of the fluid away from the surface. In Sect. 2, the pool boiling curve and boiling regimes are reviewed, followed by a discussion of the phenomenology and theoretical aspects of hysteresis in transition boiling, the minimum film point, and the film boiling regime. Some widely used predictive methods are then presented.

In Sect. 3, the two-phase flow and heat transfer regimes in internal flow boiling in vertical and horizontal flow passages are discussed. Post-critical heat flux heat transfer regimes, including stable film boiling and dispersed droplet film boiling, are then discussed, and widely used predictive methods are presented.



Critical heat flux


Departure from nucleate boiling


Leidenfrost point


Minimum film boiling


Onset of nucleate boiling


Onset of significant void



Atomic number


Specific heat and constant-pressure specific heat (J/kg·K)


Diameter (m)


Hydraulic diameter (m)


Time-averaged fraction of the total heated surface that is in contact with liquid; Chen’s enhancement factor


Mass flux (kg/m2·s)


Galileo number


Grashof number

\( \overrightarrow{g} \)

Gravitational acceleration vector (m/s2)


Gravitational constant (= 9.807 m/s2 at sea level)


Heat transfer coefficient (W/m2∙K)


Latent heat of vaporization (J/kg)


Thermal conductivity (W/m·K)


Length (m); characteristic length (m)


Molar mass (kg/kmol)


Nusselt number


Pressure (N/m2)


Prandtl number


Heat flux (W/m2)


Radius (m)


Reynolds number


Liquid-only Reynolds number


Vapor-only Reynolds number


Distance defining intermittency (m); Chen’s suppression factor


Superheat number


Modified superheat number


Temperature (K)


Time (s)

u, v

Velocity (m/s)




Equilibrium quality


Martinelli’s factor

Greek Characters


Void fraction


Thermal diffusivity (m2/s)


Volumetric thermal expansion coefficient (K−1)


Film thickness (m)


Radiative emissivity


Fastest-growing wavelength (m)


Wavelength associated with three-dimensional interfacial waves


Fastest-growing wavelength for two-dimensional Kelvin–Helmholtz instability (m)


Laplace length scale (capillary length) (m)


Viscosity (kg/m·s)


Kinematic viscosity (m2/s)


Azimuthal angle (rad); angle of inclination with respect to the horizontal plane (rad or degrees)


Equilibrium (static), advancing, and receding contact angles (rad or degrees)


Density (kg/m3)


Surface tension (N/m)


Stefan–Boltzmann constant (5.67 × 10−8 W/m2·K4)


Shear stress (N/m2)



Area averaged


Calculated at reference temperature



Bubble, vapor bulge






Saturated liquid


Film boiling


Film temperature


Forced convection


Saturated vapor




Mixture, mixture average


Nucleate boiling








Transition boiling


Vapor when it is not at saturation





Ambient associated with a large surface


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical EngineeringGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Vijay K. Dhir
    • 1
  1. 1.Mechanical and Aerospace EngineeringUniversity of California Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA

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