Infoscience

Thesis

Experimental and Visual Study on Flow Patterns and Pressure Drops in U-Tubes

In single- and two-phase flow heat exchangers (in particular "coils"), besides the straight tubes there are also many singularities, in particular the 180° return bends (also called return bends or U-bends). However, contrary to the literature concerning pressure drops and heat transfer in straight tubes, where many experimental data and predicting methods are available, only a limited number of studies concerning U-bends can be found. Neither reliable experimental data nor proven prediction methods are available. Indeed, flow structure, pressure drop and heat transfer in U-bends are an old unresolved design problem in the heat transfer industry. Thus, the present study aims at providing further insight on two-phase pressure drops and flows patterns in U-bends. Based on a new type of U-bend test section, an extensive experimental study was conducted. The experimental campaign covered five test sections with three internal diameters (7.8, 10.8 and 13.4mm), five bend diameters (24.8, 31.7, 38.1, 54.8 and 66.1mm), tested for three orientations (horizontal, vertical upflow and vertical downflow), two fluids (R134a and R410A), two saturation temperatures (5 and 10 °C) and mass velocities ranging from 150 to 1000kg s-1m-2. The flow pattern observations identified were stratified-wavy, slug-stratified-wavy, intermittent, annular, dryout and mist flows. The effects of the U-bend on the flow patterns were also observed. A total of 5655 pressure drop data were measured at seven different locations in the test section ( straight tubes and U-bend) providing a total of almost 40'000 data points. The straight tube data were first used to improve the actual two-phase straight tube model of Moreno-Quibén and Thome. This updated model was then used to developed a two-phase U-bend pressure drop model. Based on a comparison between experimental and predicted values, it is concluded that the new two-phase frictional pressure drop model for U-bends successfully predicts the new experimental data. The present work is a step forward on the LTCMs flow pattern based work on two-phase flow and heat transfer inside horizontal round tubes: (i) generalized flow pattern map, (ii) flow boiling heat transfer model, (iii) convective condensation model, (iv) two-phase frictional pressure drop model for straight tubes, and (v) two-phase frictional pressure drop model for singularities - U-bends.

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