SchrodingerZ writes "Scientists at Northwestern University have successfully found a way to boil water with the absence of bubbles. How they did it was use a 'specially engineered coated surface can create a stable vapor cushion between the surface and a hot liquid and eliminate the bubbles that are created during boiling'. The study was founded on the Leidenfrost effect ; which explains that when droplets of water are put onto a hot skillet, they will bounce and float on top of a slim vapor film layer. In the new experiment the researchers made the 'surface of tiny steel spheres very water-repellant. The spheres were sprayed with a commercially available hydrophobic coating. When the steel spheres were heated to 400 degrees Celsius and dropped into room temperature water, water vapors formed in the valleys of the textured surface, creating a stable Leidenfrost vapor film that did not collapse once the spheres cooled to the temperature of boiling water. In the experiments, researchers completely avoided the bubbly phase of boiling.' It is hoped that this new method of water heating will make industrial work safer and more efficient in the future. The study was publish in the journal Nature (linked here)."
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