Boiling in the XXI Century

This talk reports on progress in our understanding of boiling phenomena and their applications to the energy sector.

Boiling is the process of addition of heat to a liquid in such a way that generation of vapour occurs. It is integral part of crucial technological applications, most importantly in the energy sector – a key example is nuclear power, as all currently operating nuclear plants rely on the boiling of water for their operation. The phenomenology of boiling is an extremely challenging scientific problem due to its multiphysics and multiscale nature, and the corresponding research effort to support technological applications that rely on boiling is at the cutting edge of present day engineering science.

I will present an overview of my work on boiling and its modelling with modern Computational Fluid Dynamics techniques developed to simulate the fundamental fluid processes that give rise to the emergent behaviour of boiling phenomena. Quantitative analyses of such processes require sophisticated physical models to be implemented in numerical codes running on modern High Performance Computing facilities to generate detailed simulation data at very small length and time scales. I will discuss current challenges in the parallel development of simulations methods and measurement techniques, the role of experiments to verify the modelling, and the opportunities to leverage the data so generated to develop data-driven models at systems engineering level. Application of such a novel approach – entailing a combination of physically-based fundamental modelling and local microscopic measurements – to industrially relevant boiling configurations increases confidence in our fundamental understanding of boiling and is gaining ground as the new paradigm of R&T adopted by major industries.


Dr. Giovanni Giustini is a Lecturer in Engineering Simulation and Data Science and EPSRC Research Fellow in the Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering (MACE) Department at the University of Manchester and Honorary Lecturer in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Imperial College London. He holds BSc and MSc degrees in Energy Engineering from the University of Bologna, and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Imperial College London. His research interests cover various aspects of thermal-hydraulics modelling of light-water reactors, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), boiling heat transfer and multiphase flow. He has worked as an exchange researcher at the University of Hong Kong, as an intern at the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA) and as the scientific administrator of the Indo-UK Civil Nuclear network. He was granted support by UK EPSRC for computational studies of boiling phenomena on heated surfaces under fellowship grant EP/T027061/1-2. He is engaged in collaborations with some of the most renowned UK and overseas institutions active in these areas, such as Paul Scherrer Institute (Switzerland), Kyung Hee University (South Korea) and Rolls-Royce and as a consultant with UK institutions and industrial partners. He has taught at masters and undergraduate level in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Imperial College and at the ICTP-IAEA Course on Computational Fluid Dynamics in Nuclear Engineering.

About Energy Futures Lab

Energy Futures Lab is one of seven Global Institutes at Imperial College London. The institute was established to address global energy challenges by identifying and leading new opportunities to serve industry, government and society at large through high quality research, evidence and advocacy for positive change. The institute aims to promote energy innovation and advance systemic solutions for a sustainable energy future by bringing together the science, engineering and policy expertise at Imperial and fostering collaboration with a wide variety of external partners.

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