Patent Number: 6,169,852

Title: Rapid vapor generator

Abstract: The invention relates to an electrically-energized device for the rapid generation of steam or other vapors. The high-speed steam generator includes a wicked evaporator, a liquid reservoir, a liquid supply pipe, and a vapor transport tube. The evaporator consists of a low-thermal-conductivity porous wick, heated from a downward-facing grooved heating block that is in intimate contact with the upper surface of the wick structure. The grooved heating block is made of a copper block in which electric cartridge heaters are installed. As a heat load is applied on the heating block, an extremely steep temperature gradient is established immediately at the upper surface of the wick so that water from the saturated wick evaporates rapidly adjacent to the heated surface. Subsequently, menisci are formed at the vapor/liquid interface to develop a capillary force to pump subcooled liquid into the wick from the liquid reservoir. A plurality of grooves in the heating block allow the resulting vapor to instantaneously escape from the heated surface so that a high heat transfer rate from the heating block to the saturated wick can be maintained at all time.

Inventors: Liao; Qiang (Kowloon, HK), Zhao; Tianshou (Kowloon, HK), Cheng; Ping (Kowloon, HK)

Assignee: The Hong Kong University of Science & Technology

International Classification: F22B 1/28 (20060101); F22B 1/00 (20060101); F24F 006/08 (); F02H 015/04 (); B01D 047/16 ()

Expiration Date: 01/02/2018