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Research Papers: Flows in Complex Systems

Prediction of Capillary Tube Adiabatic Flow Properties in the Absence of Precise Geometric Information

[+] Author and Article Information
Bahman Abbasi

General Electric Appliances—Refrigeration,
Appliance Park, AP5-2N-11,
Louisville, KY 40225
e-mail: Bahman.Abbasi@ge.com

Contributed by the Fluids Engineering Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF FLUIDS ENGINEERING. Manuscript received July 24, 2012; final manuscript received April 11, 2013; published online June 10, 2013. Assoc. Editor: Michael G. Olsen.

J. Fluids Eng 135(9), 091102 (Jun 10, 2013) (8 pages) Paper No: FE-12-1345; doi: 10.1115/1.4024203 History: Received July 24, 2012; Revised April 11, 2013

Capillary tubes have been used in household refrigerators and other cooling systems for several decades. Complicated geometry, inevitable manufacturing variations, and complex two-phase phenomena have been major prohibitory factors in the development of reliable and efficient modeling tools to analyze the flow properties inside capillary tubes. Friction factor correlations as are available in the open literature, and as examined by the author, unanimously fail to give an accurate analysis of the refrigerant flow. The delicate operation of a capillary tube makes experimentation cumbersome, time and cost intensive, and prone to errors. The present study introduces a method to utilize the data obtained from a standard nitrogen flow test for a given capillary tube to compensate for the geometric uncertainties and predict refrigerant flow properties through the tube at any desired spatial resolution, inlet state, and flow rate. Therefore, exploratory studies and capillary tube modifications for the purpose of system development and optimization can be greatly simplified.

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References

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Measured versus predicted pressure profile along a typical capillary tube with a nominal inner diameter of 1 mm (refer to Case I for the details of the experiment and additional information)

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Fig. 2

Measured versus predicted pressure profile along a coiled capillary tube with a nominal inner diameter of 1 mm (refer to Case II for the details of the experiment and additional information)

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Fig. 3

Nitrogen flow rate measurement setup

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Fig. 4

Refrigeration cycle test equipment

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Fig. 5

Schematic of capillary tube I

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Fig. 6

Measured versus predicted R-134a pressure for Case Study I (compare Run 3 with Fig. 1)

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Fig. 8

Measured versus predicted R-134a pressure for Case Study II

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Fig. 9

Capillary tube III

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Fig. 10

Measured versus predicted R-134a pressure for Case Study III

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