Faculty Advisor

Hermanson, James Carl


In an attempt to better understand the effects of gravity on the heat transfer associated with condensation phenomena, a method for measuring the heat flux through condensing film was developed. The resulting design utilized a combination of two heat flux measurement methods: the first of which calculates the heat flux using thermocouples that measure temperatures throughout a metal plate, while the second consists of a single heat flux sensor positioned centrally within the plate. Film condensation experiments using methanol and n-pentane show a strong correlation between, and therefore an accurate calibration of, both methods. The heat flux sensor results confirmed the original hypothesis that as condensate film thickness increases heat flux decreases. The most successful heat flux measurements occurred when the temperature difference between the condensate vapor and the plate was as large as possible, when testing in the low-pressure condition, and when running the unstable case, where the condensate film grew downward underneath the plate.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

January 2002


Mechanical Engineering

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project


Restricted-WPI community only

Advisor Department

Mechanical Engineering