Research Papers: Two-Phase Flow and Heat Transfer

Analytical and Experimental Analysis of a High Temperature Mercury Thermosyphon

[+] Author and Article Information
André Felippe Vieira da Cunha, Marcia B. H. Mantelli

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Heat Pipe Laboratory (LABTUCAL), Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, SC 88040-970, Brazil

J. Heat Transfer 131(9), 092901 (Jun 22, 2009) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3089551 History: Received April 24, 2008; Revised January 29, 2009; Published June 22, 2009

High temperature thermosyphons are devices designed to operate at temperatures above 400°C. They can be applied in many industrial applications, including heat recovery from high temperature air fluxes. After a short literature review, which shows a deficiency of models for liquid metal thermosyphons, an analytical model, developed to predict the temperature distribution and the overall thermal resistance, is shown. In this model, the thermosyphon is divided into seven regions: three regions for the condensed liquid, including the condenser, adiabatic region, and evaporator; one region for vapor; one for the liquid pool; one for the noncondensable gases; and another for the tube wall. The condensation phenomenon is modeled according to the Nusselt theory for condensation in vertical walls. Numerical methods are used to solve the resulting equations and to determine the temperature distribution in the tube wall. Ideal gas law is applied for the noncondensable gases inside the thermosyphon, while the evaporator and condenser heat transfer coefficients are obtained from literature correlations. Experimental tests are conducted for thermosyphon with mercury as working fluid, designed and constructed in the laboratory. The results for two thermosyphons with different geometry configurations are tested: one made of a finned tube in the condenser region and another of a smooth tube. The finned tube presents lower wall temperature levels when compared with the smooth tube. The experimental data are compared with the proposed model for two different liquid pool heat transfer coefficients. It is observed that the comparison between the experimental data and theoretical temperature profiles is good for the condenser region. For the evaporator, where two distinct regions are observed (liquid film and pool), the comparison is not so good, independent of the heat transfer coefficient used. In a general sense, the model has proved to be a useful tool for the design of liquid metal thermosyphons.

Copyright © 2009 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 9

Comparison: experimental data and model for Thermosyphon B to 486 W

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Figure 8

Comparison: experimental data and model for Thermosyphon A to 485 W

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Figure 7

Temperature profile of Thermosyphon B subjected to 1922 W

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Figure 6

Temperature profile of Thermosyphon B subjected to 486 W

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Figure 5

Temperature profile of Thermosyphon A subjected to 1609 W of heat power

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Figure 4

Temperature profile of Thermosyphon A subjected to 485 W of heat power

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Figure 3

Schematic of the experimental apparatus

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Figure 2

(a) Control volume and (b) energy balance in the cross-sectional area of the control volume

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Figure 1

Schematic high temperature thermosyphon model



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