A non-invasive capacitive sensor to investigate the Leidenfrost phenomenon: a proof of concept study

Abhishek S. Purandare*, Jelle Rijs, Pankaj Sagar, Srinivas Vanapalli*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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A volatile sessile liquid droplet or a sublimating solid manifests levitation on its own vapor when placed on a sufficiently heated surface, illustrating the Leidenfrost phenomenon. In this study, we introduce a non-invasive capacitance method for investigating this phenomenon, offering a potentially simpler alternative to existing optical techniques. The designed sensor features in-plane miniaturized electrodes forming a double-comb structure, also known as an interdigitated capacitor. Initially, the sensor’s capacitance is characterized for various distances between the sensor and a dielectric material. The influence of the sensor substrate material and the spacing between the electrodes on the sensor’s capacitance is also investigated. To demonstrate the feasibility of the method, a sublimating dry ice pellet is placed on the capacitive sensor, and its performance is evaluated. We present results for the dimensionless vapor layer thickness and the pellet’s lifetime at different substrate temperatures, derived from the capacitance output. The results are compared with Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) data, serving as a benchmark. While the temporal evolution of the sensor’s output, variation in the dimensionless vapor layer thickness, and the lifetime of the dry ice pellet align with expected results from OCT, notable quantitative deviations are observed. These deviations are attributed to practical experimental limitations rather than shortcoming in the sensor’s working principle. Although this necessitates further investigation, the methodology presented in this paper can potentially serve as an alternative for the detection and measurement of Leidenfrost vapor layers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10565
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 8 May 2024


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