Experimental Investigation of Capillary-Driven Two-Phase Flow in Water/Butanol under Reduced Gravity Conditions

  • Anselmo CecereEmail author
  • Giuseppe D. Di Martino
  • Stefano Mungiguerra
Original Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Heat pipe systems for thermal management in space


The capillary flow of water/butanol mixture is investigated in a single groove heat pipe model on board the Airbus A310 ‘Zero-G’ of the European Space Agency. As working fluid for evaporation-based heat transfer devices like conventional or pulsating heat pipes, these kinds of mixtures give more stable behaviour and higher dry-out limit with respect to pure water because of an anomalous behaviour of the surface tension with temperature. The groove is embedded in a semi-transparent test cell that allows for the qualitative visualization of the liquid distribution along the channel and is heated and cooled at two opposite sides with an electrical resistance and a water circulation system. The evaporation/condensation process is regulated changing the power input in a range between 5 and 30 W and the liquid distribution is detected from a top window using a CCD camera and a LED illumination device. The results show that the liquid distribution is affected by the gravity level and this effect is normally masked on ground.


Heat pipe Capillary flow Self-rewetting fluids Parabolic flight 



The authors acknowledge the financial support of the European Space Agency through the MAP (Microgravity Application Promotion) project: “Innovative Wickless Heat Pipe Systems for Ground and Space Applications (INWIP)”. ESTEC Contract number: 4000115115/15/NL/PG. Special thanks must be given to NOVESPACE team in Bordeaux for their assistance and to Dr. B. Toth (ESA).


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Industrial Engineering-Aerospace SectionUniversity of Naples “FEDERICO II”NaplesItaly

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