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An Experimentally Validated Model for Two-Phase Sudden Contraction Pressure Drop in Microchannel Tube Headers

[+] Author Affiliations
John Wesley Coleman

Brazeway, Inc., Adrian, MI

Paper No. ICMM2003-1026, pp. 241-248; 8 pages
  • ASME 2003 1st International Conference on Microchannels and Minichannels
  • 1st International Conference on Microchannels and Minichannels
  • Rochester, New York, USA, April 24–25, 2003
  • Conference Sponsors: Nanotechnology Institute
  • ISBN: 0-7918-3667-3
  • Copyright © 2003 by ASME


This paper presents the results of an experimental investigation of two-phase pressure loss of R134a in microchannel headers using various end-cut techniques. Novel experimental techniques and test sections were developed to enable the accurate determination of the minor losses without obfuscating the problem with a lengthwise pressure gradient. This technique represents a departure from approaches used by other investigators that have extrapolated minor losses from air-water experiments and the combined effects of expansion, contraction, deceleration, and lengthwise pressure gradients. Pressure losses were recorded over the entire range of qualities from 100% vapor to 100% liquid. In addition, the tests were conducted for five different refrigerant mass fluxes between 185 kg/m2 -s and 785 kg/m2 -s using two differnt end-cut techniques. More than 790 data points were recorded to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the effects of mass flux and quality on minor pressure losses. High accuracy instrumentation such as coriolis mass flowmeters, RTDs, pressure transducers, and real-time data analyses were used to ensure accuracy in the results. The results show that many of the commonly used correlations for estimating two-phase pressure losses significantly underpredict the pressure losses found in compact microchannel tube headers. Furthermore, the results show that the end-cut technique can substantially affect the pressure losses in microchannel headers. A new model for estimating the pressure loss in microchannel headers is presented and a comparison of the end-cut techniques on the minor losses is reported.

Copyright © 2003 by ASME



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