Research Papers: Multiphase Flows

Modeling of Pressure Drop During Condensation in Circular and Noncircular Microchannels

[+] Author and Article Information
Akhil Agarwal

 Shell Global Solutions, Inc., Houston, TX 77082-3101

Srinivas Garimella1

George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332-0405srinivas.garimella@me.gatech.edu


Corresponding author.

J. Fluids Eng 131(1), 011302 (Dec 02, 2008) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3026582 History: Received February 26, 2007; Revised April 01, 2008; Published December 02, 2008

This paper presents a multiple flow-regime model for pressure drop during condensation of refrigerant R134a in horizontal microchannels. Condensation pressure drops measured in two circular and six noncircular channels ranging in hydraulic diameter from 0.42mmto0.8mm are considered here. For each tube under consideration, pressure drop measurements were taken over the entire range of qualities from 100% vapor to 100% liquid for five different refrigerant mass fluxes between 150kgm2s and 750kgm2s. Results from previous work by the authors on condensation flow mechanisms in microchannel geometries were used to assign the applicable flow regime to the data points. Garimella (2005, “Condensation Pressure Drop in Circular Microchannels  ,” Heat Transfer Eng., 26(3) pp. 1–8) reported a comprehensive model for circular tubes that addresses the progression of the condensation process from the vapor phase to the liquid phase by modifying and combining the pressure drop models for intermittent (Garimella, 2002, “An Experimentally Validated Model for Two-Phase Pressure Drop in the Intermittent Flow Regime for Circular Microchannels  ,” ASME J. Fluids Eng., 124(1), pp. 205–214) and annular (Garimella, 2003, “Two-Phase Pressure Drops in the Annular Flow Regime in Circular Microchannels  ,” 21st IIR International Congress of Refrigeration, International Institute of Refrigeration, p. ICR0360) flows reported earlier by them. This paper presents new condensation pressure drop data on six noncircular channels over the same flow conditions as the previous work on circular channels. In addition, a multiple flow-regime model similar to that developed earlier by Garimella for circular microchannels is developed here for these new cross sections. This combined model accurately predicts condensation pressure drops in the annular, disperse-wave, mist, discrete-wave, and intermittent flow regimes for both circular and noncircular microchannels of similar hydraulic diameters. Overlap and transition regions between the respective regimes are also addressed to yield relatively smooth transitions between the predicted pressure drops. The resulting model predicts 80% of the data within ±25%. The effect of tube shape on pressure drop is also demonstrated.

Copyright © 2009 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 7

Effect of tube shape on condensation pressure drop

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Figure 6

Pressure drop model predictions

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Figure 5

Predicted and experimental ΔP versus x

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Figure 4

Annular film flow pattern

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Figure 3

Schematic of intermittent flow

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Figure 2

Flow-regime assignment

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Figure 1

Tube shapes and hydraulic diameters



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