Making sure equipment stays at the right temperature is a headache for engineers and designers. Cooling the semiconductor that powers your device to display this text is becoming harder as chips get hotter.
An efficient way of getting rid of excess heat is by boiling it away. Liquid evaporates from the surface of a liquid while bubbles carry heat from deep down, but the process is complex and not fully understood by physicists – yet.
Experiments on parabolic flights have shown that vapour bubbles behave very differently on otherplanets or in space. In weightlessness the bubbles don’t detach from a heat source but stick to it and form a large heat-transferring cavity, offering great potential to help space engineers keep their satellites cool.