Supercritical gas cooling and condensation of refrigerant R410A at near-critical pressures
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A comprehensive study of heat transfer and pressure drop of refrigerant R410A during condensation and supercritical cooling at near-critical pressures was conducted. Investigations were carried out at five nominal pressures: 0.8, 0.9, 1.0, 1.1 and 1.2xpcrit. The refrigerant was tested in commercially available horizontal smooth tubes of 6.2 and 9.4 mm I.D. Heat transfer coefficients were measured using a thermal amplification technique that measures heat duty accurately while also providing refrigerant heat transfer coefficients with low uncertainties. For condensation tests, local heat transfer coefficients and pressure drops were measured for the mass flux range 200 G 800 kg/m2-s in small quality increments over entire vapor-liquid region. For supercritical tests, local heat transfer coefficients and pressure drops were measured for the same mass flux range as in the condensation tests for temperatures ranging from 30 110oC. Condensation heat transfer coefficients and pressure drops increased with quality and mass flux. The effect of reduced pressure on heat transfer is not very significant, while this effect is more pronounced on the pressure gradient. The flow regime transition criteria of Coleman and Garimella (2003) were used to initially designate the prevailing flow regimes for a given combination of mass flux and quality. The condensation data collected in the present study were primarily in the wavy and annular flow regimes. During supercritical cooling, the sharp variations in thermophysical properties in the vicinity of the critical temperature resulted in sharp peaks in the heat transfer coefficients and sudden jumps in the pressure drop. Based on the characteristics of the specific work of thermal expansion (contraction), the data from the supercritical tests were grouped into three regimes: liquid-like, pseudo-critical transition and gas-like regimes. Flow regime-based heat transfer and pressure drop models were developed for both condensation and supercritical cooling. For condensation, the overall heat transfer model predicts 98% of the data within 15% while the overall pressure drop model predicts 87% of the data within 15%. For supercritical cooling, the heat transfer model predicted 88% of the data within 25% while the pressure gradient model predicts 84% of the data within 25%.