Research Papers: Micro/Nanoscale Heat Transfer

Addressing Two-Phase Flow Maldistribution in Microchannel Heat and Mass Exchangers

[+] Author and Article Information
Dhruv C. Hoysall

G.W. Woodruff School of
Mechanical Engineering,
Georgia Institute of Technology,
Atlanta, GA 30332
e-mail: dhoysall3@gatech.edu

Khoudor Keniar

G.W. Woodruff School of
Mechanical Engineering,
Georgia Institute of Technology,
Atlanta, GA 30332
e-mail: kkeniar3@gatech.edu

Srinivas Garimella

Fellow ASME
G.W. Woodruff School of
Mechanical Engineering,
Georgia Institute of Technology,
Atlanta, GA 30332
e-mail: sgarimella@gatech.edu

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Heat Transfer Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF HEAT TRANSFER. Manuscript received October 17, 2017; final manuscript received June 21, 2018; published online July 23, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Guihua Tang.

J. Heat Transfer 140(11), 112402 (Jul 23, 2018) (9 pages) Paper No: HT-17-1615; doi: 10.1115/1.4040706 History: Received October 17, 2017; Revised June 21, 2018

Multiphase flow phenomena in single micro and minichannels have been widely studied. Characteristics of two-phase flow through a large array of microchannels are investigated here. An air–water mixture is used to represent the two phases flowing through a microchannel array representative of those employed in practical applications. Flow distribution of the air and water flow across 52 parallel microchannels of 0.4 mm hydraulic diameter is visually investigated using high-speed photography. Two microchannel configurations are studied and compared, with mixing features incorporated into the second configuration. Slug and annular flow regimes are observed in the channels. Void fractions and interfacial areas are calculated for each channel from these observations. The flow distribution is tracked at various lengths along the microchannel array sheets. Statistical distributions of void fraction and interfacial area along the microchannel array are measured. The design with mixing features yields improved flow distribution. Void fraction and interfacial area change along the length of the second configuration, indicating a change in fluid distribution among the channels. The void fraction and interfacial area results are used to predict the performance of different microchannel array configurations for heat and mass transfer applications. Results from this study can help inform the design of compact thermal-fluid energy systems.

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Fig. 1

Schematic of experimental setup

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Fig. 2

Microchannel test sections

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Fig. 3

Illustration of the test section assembly

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Fig. 4

Representative image of flow through test section

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Fig. 5

Data reduction algorithm for the analysis of flow videos

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Fig. 6

Binary image obtained after initial processing

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Fig. 7

Processed image showing interfaces and channel boundaries

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Fig. 8

Representative void fraction distribution in test section 1

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Fig. 9

Evolution of void fraction distribution with length

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Fig. 10

Void fraction variation with window

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Fig. 11

Distribution of interfacial area in test section 1

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Fig. 12

Interfacial area intensity variation with window

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Fig. 13

Flow across the mixing section

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Fig. 14

Distribution of two-phase mixture in microchannel absorber

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Fig. 15

Channel wise heat transfer in absorber



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