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Title: Two-phase flow boiling in small to micro-diameter tubes
Authors: Shiferaw, Dereje
Advisors: Karayiannis, TG
Kenning, DBR
Issue Date: 2008
Publisher: Brunel University School of Engineering and Design PhD Theses
Abstract: This thesis is dedicated to the experimental and theoretical study of flow boiling in small to micro diameter tubes using R 134a. Flow pattern, heat transfer and pressure drop studies were conducted in stainless steel cold drawn tubes with internal diameter 2.88,1.1, and 0.52 mm using an existing facility that was designed with a long term research objective of improving the fundamental understanding of flow boiling in small metallic tubes. The facility was moved to the present location from London South Bank University and re-commissioned before carrying out the experiments. The test sections were heated by a direct passage of alternating current and wall temperatures were measured at 15 axial locations by miniature thermocouples that were directly spotwelded at the tube outer wall. A digital high-speed camera was used to simultaneously observe the flow patterns (during the heat transfer tests) directly at a borosilicate glass tube located immediately downstream of the heat transfer test section. The purpose of the flow visualization study was to support understanding of the heat transfer characteristics and development of flow regime-specific models. The heat transfer and pressure drop data of X. Huo (2005) in the 4.26 and 2.01 mm tubes and the flow visualization results of Chen (2006) for the tubes of diameter 4.26,2.88,2.01, and 1.1 mm were included with the new data in an extensive analysis of flow boiling heat transfer and pressure drop in five vertical tubes with internal diameters 4.26, 2.88,2.01, 1.1 and 0.52 mm. The wide range of tube diameter was chosen to investigate the influence of tube size and possibly identify the threshold where the effect of small or micro diameter effects become significant. In the experiments, parameters were varied in the ranges: mass flux 100 to 700 kg/m2s; heat flux 1.6 to 150 kW/m; pressure 6 to 14 bar; quality up to 0.9 and the inlet temperature was controlled at a subcooling of 1-5K. There was no clear significant difference between the characteristics and magnitude of the heat transfer coefficients in the 4.26 mm and 2.88 mm tubes but the coefficients in the 2.01 and 1.1 mm tube were higher. The heat transfer results suggested that a tube size of about 2 mm might be considered as a critical diameter to distinguish small and conventional tubes. Further differences have now been observed in the 0.52 mm tube. These differences, both in flow patterns and heat transfer, indicate a possible second change from small to micro behaviour at diameters less than 1 mm for R 134a. Also, the results showed axial variations in heat transfer characteristics marking the importance of surface conditions on heat transfer. This calls for a further detail investigation to understand the underlying physics in the initiation of boiling, effect of surface condition on nucleation, and structure of newly emerging flow patterns, particularly in very small tubes. Existing correlations were examined using the results of the five tubes and indicated that these correlations do not predict the present small diameter data to a satisfactory degree. Therefore, two new correlations that take into account both magnitude and characteristic effect of tube diameter have been proposed covering the 4.26 mm-1.1 mm and the smallest 0.52 mm tube, respectively. A detailed comparison was also made with the state-of-the-art flow regime-specific model of Thome et al. (2004) and verified that the mechanistic modelling approach has a promising capability of predicting two phase heat transfer in small diameter tubes, although it still requires further development. Some improvements have been proposed and tested against the current data. Using a similar approach, a new two phase pressure drop model has been proposed and compared with the current data with encouraging results.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and awarded by Brunel University.
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Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Dept of Mechanical Aerospace and Civil Engineering Theses

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