Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Use of Fluorescence to Measure the Lubricant Excess Surface Density During Pool Boiling



Mark A. Kedzierski


This paper presents what are believed to be the first measurements of the non-adiabatic lubricant excess surface density on a roughened, horizontal flat pool-boiling surface. Both pool boiling heat transfer data and lubricant excess surface density data are given for pure R123 and a R123/lubricant mixture. A spectrofluorometer was used to measure the lubricant excess density that was established by the boiling of a R123/lubricant mixture on a test surface. The fluorescent measurement technique was used to confirm the existence of the lubricant excess layer during refrigerant/lubricant mixture boiling. 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. The excess lubricant resides in a very thin layer on the surface and influences the boiling performance. Accordingly, the ability to measure the lubricant excess density on the heat transfer surface would lead to a fundamental understanding of the mechanism by which lubricants can degrade or improve boiling performance. In support of this effort, heat transfer data are provided for both pure R123 and an R123/lubricant (98.2/1.8) by mass mixture at 277.6 K. The heat transfer data shows that the lubricant excess causes an average degradation of 12 % in the heat flux for a given superheat.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 6727
Report Number


adsorption, alternative refrigerants, boiling, enhanced heat, fluorescence, pool boiling, R123, smooth surface, surfactant


Kedzierski, M. (2001), Use of Fluorescence to Measure the Lubricant Excess Surface Density During Pool Boiling, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed April 21, 2024)
Created January 1, 2001, Updated February 19, 2017