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Phase Separation in Vertical Header of Microchannel Condensers: A Mechanistic Model

[+] Author Affiliations
Jun Li, Pega Hrnjak

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL

Paper No. FEDSM2018-83311, pp. V003T20A003; 10 pages
  • ASME 2018 5th Joint US-European Fluids Engineering Division Summer Meeting
  • Volume 3: Fluid Machinery; Erosion, Slurry, Sedimentation; Experimental, Multiscale, and Numerical Methods for Multiphase Flows; Gas-Liquid, Gas-Solid, and Liquid-Solid Flows; Performance of Multiphase Flow Systems; Micro/Nano-Fluidics
  • Montreal, Quebec, Canada, July 15–20, 2018
  • Conference Sponsors: Fluids Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5157-9
  • Copyright © 2018 by ASME


Phase separation has been proven to increase performance of condensers of energy conversion systems (in vapor compression systems). Instead of conventional design, the inlet to a microchannel condenser prototype is in the middle of the height. After the first pass, in the vertical second header of the condenser, vapor phase separates from liquid phase due to gravity and sometimes other effects. In ideal case vapor should go to the top and liquid to the bottom, resulting in increased heat transfer. Due to interaction between vapor and liquid, separation is not perfect, expressed through the separation efficiency.

A mechanistic model presented in the paper is built to predict the phase separation efficiency based on force balance analysis for the liquid phase and correlations for the two-phase pressure drop. For the force balance criteria, liquid phase is divided into droplets and film and treated separately. The model captures the experimental observations first in asymptotic sense: separation efficiency can be 100% at low liquid mass flux and low vapor mass flux, but also in quantitative. Initial agreement with experiment is achieved to be within 15%.

Copyright © 2018 by ASME



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