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Second Thermal and Fluids Engineering  Conference

ISSN: 2379-1748
ISBN: 978-1-56700-430-4

Heat Transfer Enhancement during Condensation of Hydrocarbons with Slippery Liquid-Infused Porous Surfaces for Improved Natural Gas Processing Efficiency




Abstract

Vapor condensation is routinely used as an effective means of transferring heat or separating fluids. Filmwise condensation is prevalent in typical industrial-scale systems, where the condensed fluid forms a thin liquid film due to the high surface energy associated with many industrial materials. Conversely, dropwise condensation, where the condensate forms discrete liquid droplets which grow, coalesce, and shed, results in an improvement in heat transfer performance of an order of magnitude compared to filmwise condensation. During water condensation, the dropwise mode is easily promoted with thin hydrophobic coatings. However, low surface tension fluid condensates such as hydrocarbons pose a unique challenge since the typical hydrophobic condenser coatings used to shed water (surface tension 73 mN/m) often do not repel fluids with lower surface tensions (< 30 mN/m). Recent work has indicated that slippery liquid-infused porous surfaces (SLIPS) can promote dropwise condensation of hydrocarbons; we confirm the effectiveness of SLIPS in promoting dropwise condensation here. The overall heat transfer performance during condensation on SLIPS was determined in a controlled environmental chamber in which hydrocarbons were condensed on SLIPS-coated tubes at a range of supersaturations typical for natural gas processing applications. From these results, the heat transfer coefficient for hydrocarbon condensation on SLIPS was obtained experimentally for the first time in literature. The improved heat transfer for low surface tension fluids on SLIPS presents the opportunity for significant energy savings not only in natural gas processing but also applications such as thermal management, heating and cooling, and power generation.

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