RESEARCH PAPERS: Heat Exchangers

Evaporation Heat Transfer and Pressure Drop of Refrigerant R-134a in a Plate Heat Exchanger

[+] Author and Article Information
Y.-Y. Yan, T.-F. Lin

Department of Mechanical Engineering, National Chiao Tung University, Hsinchu, Taiwan, R.O.C.

J. Heat Transfer 121(1), 118-127 (Feb 01, 1999) (10 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2825924 History: Received December 10, 1997; Revised October 08, 1998; Online December 05, 2007


The evaporation heat transfer coefficient and pressure drop for refrigerant R-134a flowing in a plate heat exchanger were investigated experimentally in this study. Two vertical counterflow channels were formed in the exchanger by three plates of commercial geometry with a corrugated sine shape of a chevron angle of 60 deg. Upflow boiling of refrigerant R-134a in one channel receives heat from the hot downflow of water in the other channel. The effects of the mean vapor quality, mass flux, heat flux, and pressure of R-134a on the evaporation heat transfer and pressure drop were explored. The quality change of R-134a between the inlet and outlet of the refrigerant channel ranges from 0.09 to 0.18. Even at a very low Reynolds number, the present flow visualization of evaporation in a plate heat exchanger with the transparent outer plate showed that the flow in the plate heat exchanger remains turbulent. It is found that the evaporation heat transfer coefficient of R-134a in the plates is much higher than that in circular pipes and shows a very different variation with the vapor quality from that in circular pipes, particularly in the convective evaporation dominated regime at high vapor quality. Relatively intense evaporation on the corrugated surface was seen from the flow visualization. Moreover, the present data showed that both the evaporation heat transfer coefficient and pressure drop increase with the vapor quality. At a higher mass flux the pressure drop is higher for the entire range of the vapor quality but the evaporation heat transfer is clearly better only at the high quality. Raising the imposed wall heat flux was found to slightly improve the heat transfer, while at a higher refrigerant pressure, both the heat transfer and pressure drop are slightly lower. Based on the present data, empirical correlations for the evaporation heat transfer coefficient and friction factor were proposed.

Copyright © 1999 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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