Two-phase thermal management offers cooling performance enhancement by an order of magnitude higher than single-phase flow due to the latent heat associated with phase change. Among the modes of phase-change, boiling can effectively remove massive amounts of heat flux from the surface by employing structured or 3D microporous coatings to significantly enlarge the interfacial surface area for improved heat transfer rate as well as increase the number of potential sites for bubble nucleation and departure. The bubble dynamics during pool boiling are often considered to be essential in predicting heat transfer performance, causing it to be a field of significant interest. While prior investigations seek to modulate the bubble dynamics through either active (e.g., surfactants, electricity) or passive means (e.g., surface wettability, microstructures), the utilization of an ordered microporous architecture to instigate desirable liquid and vapor flow field has been limited. Here, we investigate the bubble dynamics using various spatial patterns of inverse opal channels to induce preferential heat and mass flow site in highly-interconnected microporous media. A fully-coated inverse opal surface demonstrates the intrinsic boiling effects of a uniform microporous coating, which exhibits 156% enhancement in heat transfer coefficient in comparison to the polished silicon surface. The boiling heat transfer performances of spatially-variant inverse opal channels significantly differ based on the pitch spacings between the microporous channels, which dictate the bubble coalescent behaviors and bubble departure characteristics. The elucidated boiling heat transfer performances will provide engineering guidance toward designing optimal two-phase thermal management devices.

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