Condensation of hydrocarbon and zeotropic hydrocarbon/refrigerant mixtures in horizontal tubes
Milkie, Jeffrey A.
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An experimental investigation of condensation of hydrocarbons and hydrocarbon/refrigerant mixtures in horizontal tubes was conducted. Heat transfer coefficients and frictional pressure drops during condensation of a zeotropic binary mixture of R245fa and n-pentane in a 7.75 mm internal diameter round tube were measured across the entire vapor-liquid dome, for mass fluxes ranging from 150 to 600 kg m-2 s-1, and reduced pressures ranging from 0.06 to 0.23. Condensation experiments were conducted for the mixture, as well as its pure constituents over a similar range of conditions. In addition, condensing flow of the hydrocarbon propane was documented visually using high-speed video recordings. Results from these experiments were used to establish the two-phase flow regimes, void fractions, and liquid film thicknesses during condensation of propane flowing through horizontal tubes with internal diameters of 7 and 15 mm. These measurements were made over mass fluxes ranging from 75 to 450 kg m-2 s-1, operating pressures ranging from 952 to 1218 kPa, and vapor qualities ranging from 0.05 to 0.95. Liquid film thickness and void fraction data were subsequently be used to assist the development of heat transfer and pressure drop models. In particular, the heat transfer coefficients and pressure drops observed in the mixture were compared with the corresponding values for the pure constituents. Models for heat transfer and pressure drop in the pure components as well as the mixtures were developed based on the data from the present study. This work extends the available literature on two-phase flow regimes for air-water mixtures, steam, and refrigerants to include hydrocarbons. Additionally, the limited information on condensation in multi-constituent hydrocarbon-hydrocarbon and refrigerant-refrigerant mixtures was extended to include hydrocarbon-refrigerant mixtures. The findings of this study are expected to benefit applications such as refrigeration, low-grade heat-driven power generation, and the development of heat exchangers for the chemical and process industries.