The interest in surface treatments promoting dropwise condensation has grown exponentially in the past decades. Savings in the operating and maintenance costs of steam processes involving phase changes are promised. Numerous surface preparation methods allow the formation of droplets during condensation. However, stable dropwise condensation has been hardly realized in industrial applications. This review aims to highlight the surface preparation techniques that promote dropwise condensation. It emphasizes on their durability and the resulting stability of dropwise condensation. Furthermore, the possibilities of implementation at an industrial level are discussed, apart from evaluating the economic feasibility through a case study. Despite years of research and numerous surface design possibilities, dropwise condensation cannot be maintained: coating deterioration and fluctuating process conditions commonly lead to surface flooding within hours or weeks. A more profound understanding of the mechanisms of dropwise condensation and innovative design concepts for self-renewing heat transfer surfaces may diminish encountered challenges.
Ahlers, M., Buck-Emden, A., & Bart, H. J. (2019, March 1). Is dropwise condensation feasible? A review on surface modifications for continuous dropwise condensation and a profitability analysis. Journal of Advanced Research. Elsevier B.V. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jare.2018.11.004