RESEARCH PAPERS: Boiling and Condensation

Condensation in Smooth Horizontal Tubes

[+] Author and Article Information
M. K. Dobson

Exxon Production Research Co., Houston, TX 77252

J. C. Chato

Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1206 W. Green Street, Urbana, IL 61801

J. Heat Transfer 120(1), 193-213 (Feb 01, 1998) (21 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2830043 History: Received August 19, 1996; Revised August 04, 1997; Online January 07, 2008


An experimental study of heat transfer and flow regimes during condensation of refrigerants in horizontal tubes was conducted. Measurements were made in smooth, round tubes with diameters ranging from 3.14 mm to 7.04 mm. The refrigerants tested were R-12, R-22, R-134a, and near-azeotropic blends of R-32/R-125 in 50 percent/50 percent and 60 percent/40 percent compositions. The study focused primarily on measurement and prediction of condensing heat transfer coefficients and the relationship between heat transfer coefficients and two-phase flow regimes. Flow regimes were observed visually at the inlet and outlet of the test condenser as the heat transfer data were collected. Stratified, wavy, wavy annular, annular, annular mist, and slug flows were observed. True mist flow without a stable wall film was not observed during condensation tests. The experimental results were compared with existing flow regime maps and some corrections are suggested. The heat transfer behavior was controlled by the prevailing flow regime. For the purpose of analyzing condensing heat transfer behavior, the various flow regimes were divided into two broad categories of gravity-dominated and shear-dominated flows. In the gravity dominated flow regime, the dominant heat transfer mode was laminar film condensation in the top of the tube. This regime was characterized by heat transfer coefficients that depended on the wall-to-refrigerant temperature difference but were nearly independent of mass flux. In the shear-dominated flow regime, forced-convective condensation was the dominant heat transfer mechanism. This regime was characterized by heat transfer coefficients that were independent of temperature difference but very dependent on mass flux and quality. Heat transfer correlations that were developed for each of these flow regimes successfully predicted data from the present study and from several other sources.

Copyright © 1998 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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