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A New Insitu Technique for Measuring the Concentration of Lubricant on a Boiling Heat Transfer Surface



Mark A. Kedzierski, Thomas J. Bruno, Matt O'Neill


The paper presents a technique for using the fluorescent properties and/or the harmonic focusing properties of several commercial lubricants to measure the concentration of lubricant on an aluminum vignetting target. It is planned to use the measurement method to determine the concentration of lubricant in-situ on a boiling heat transfer surface. The heat transfer performance of a boiling surface is a strong function of both the type of lubricant and its concentration in the refrigerant. In general, severe boiling performance degradations may occur for higher concentrations of lubricant on the surface. The lubricant is preferentially drawn out of the bulk refrigerant/lubricant mixture by the boiling process and accumulates on the surface in excess of the bulk concentration. However, different lubricants accumulate on the heat transfer surface by different amounts for the same bulk concentration. The excess lubricant resides in a very thin layer on the surface. Consequently, the ability to measure the lubricant concentration on the heat transfer surface would lead to a fundamental understanding of the mechanism by which lubricants can degrade or improve boiling performance. The lubricant concentration on a vignetting target was found to be linear with respect to the fluorescence intensity and the reflected harmonic from the surface. Consequently, the results of this study have shown that it is feasible to use the fluorescence and reflected harmonic measured from a boiling heat transfer surface to obtain the concentration of lubricant on the surface.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 6110
Report Number


absorption, alternative refrigerants, boiling, building technology, enhanced, fluorescence, heat transfer


Kedzierski, M. , Bruno, T. and O'Neill, M. (1998), A New Insitu Technique for Measuring the Concentration of Lubricant on a Boiling Heat Transfer Surface, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed July 24, 2024)


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Created January 1, 1998, Updated February 19, 2017