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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Sequential cryogen spraying for heat flux control at the skin surface

  • Author(s): Majaron, B
  • Aguilar, G
  • Basinger, B
  • Randeberg, LL
  • Svaasand, LO
  • Lavernia, EJ
  • Nelson, JS
  • et al.

Published Web Location Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License

Heat transfer rate at the skin-air interface is of critical importance for the benefits of cryogen spray cooling in combination with laser therapy of shallow subsurface skin lesions, such as port-wine stain birthmarks. With some cryogen spray devices, a layer of liquid cryogen builds up on the skin surface during the spurt, which may impair heat transfer across the skin surface due to relatively low thermal conductivity and potentially higher temperature of the liquid cryogen layer as compared to the spray droplets. While the mass flux of cryogen delivery can be adjusted by varying the atomizing nozzle geometry, this may strongly affect other spray properties, such as lateral spread (cone), droplet size, velocity, and temperature distribution. We present here first experiments with sequential cryogen spraying, which may enable accurate mass flux control through variation of spray duty cycle, while minimally affecting other spray characteristics. The observed increase of cooling rate and efficiency at moderate duty cycle levels supports the above described hypothesis of "isolating" liquid layer, and demonstrates a novel approach to optimization of cryogen spray devices for individual laser dermatological applications.

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