Two-phase flow regime transitions in microchannels: A comparative experimental study

I. Hassan, M. Vaillancourt, K. Pehlivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

68 Citations (Scopus)


In recent years, micro-technologies have become very important to cutting edge industries such as aerospace and biotechnology. In the fluidic research area, two-phase flow study in microchannels has been an emerging topic in the past few years. Characteristics of two-phase flow in microchannels such as flow regimes, pressure drop, void fraction, and heat transfer are now being extensively studied by numerous groups. The ultimate goal of this research ranges from compact heat exchangers to small-sized refrigeration systems. One of the major drawbacks in this area to date is the lack of a universal flow regime map enabling the prediction of flow regimes in microchannels. In the present study, a new test rig was designed and constructed to extend the range of the existing data on flow regimes. Several flow regime maps, for a hydraulic diameter of less than 1.0 mm obtained from a comprehensive literature review, are tested and compared. A total of approximately 1475 experimental data points from present and previous studies performed in channels with Dh, ≤ 1.0 mm were used for comparison. Two universal flow regime maps were created, one each for horizontal and vertical channels with a hydraulic diameter ranging between 0.1 mm and 1.0 mm. The resulting universal maps presented here are based on flow regimes observed in all the studies on two-phase flow in microchannels. We suggest that the use of these flow regimes could help diminish the amount of discord present among research groups pertaining to the definition of flow regimes. Based on the comparisons between the universal maps and different experimental flow regime maps, appropriate conclusions on the effects of channel orientation and geometry are suggested.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-182
Number of pages18
JournalMicroscale Thermophysical Engineering
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2005



  • Flow regimes
  • Microchannel
  • Two-phase flow
  • Universal flow regime map

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Materials Science (miscellaneous)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)

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