Experimental investigation and visualization of two-phase flow and water transport in microchannels

Carlos H. Hidrovo, Fu Min Wang, Eon Soo Lee, Sébastien Vigneron, Julie E. Steinbrenner, Jay V. Paidipati, Theresa A. Kramer, John K. Eaton, Kenneth E. Goodson

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


In this paper we present an overview of the experimental work carried out as part of research geared towards the understanding of two-phase flow in microchannels. The greater scope of the project is to use the knowledge gained towards the development of strategies to improve water management in fuel cell applications. We have conducted pressure versus flow rate experiments in microchannels with contrasting hydrophobic characteristics and under different liquid water injection conditions. These measurements have been complemented with flow visualization studies using white light and fluorescence. As expected, parameters associated to surface energy such as hydrophobicity have a big influence on the flow. Under hydrophobic conditions the formation of slugs or blobs of size comparable to that of the microchannel greatly impedes the flow of air, especially at low pressure drops. On the other hand liquid water effects under hydrophilic conditions are only noticeable at large injection rates (100 μL/min). In contrast to their hydrophobic counterparts, two-phase flow in hydrophilic microchannels is characterized by the formation of a thin film of liquid. Only when the thickness of the film becomes substantial does it have an effect on the air flow.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberIMECE2004-61401
Pages (from-to)205-212
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers, Fluids Engineering Division (Publication) FED
StatePublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes
Event2004 ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, IMECE 2004 - Anaheim, CA, United States
Duration: Nov 13 2004Nov 19 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


  • Fuel cells
  • Microchannels
  • Two-phase flow


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