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Second Thermal and Fluids Engineering  Conference

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

TWO PHASE FLOW IN MINI-GAPS AND PIN-FIN ARRAYS FOR ENHANCED HEAT EXCHANGER DESIGNS

Codi T. Wood
Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, 16802

Mahdi Nabil
Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, 16802

Alexander S. Rattner
Sustainable Thermal Systems Laboratory, The George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332, USA; Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, 16802

Abstract

Microchannel two-phase heat exchanger geometries have found widespread adoption in energy systems due to their potential for high wall-to-fluid heat transfer coefficients. However, flow maldistribution and poor bulk mixing may limit performance in applications where inter-phase transport is critical, such as in absorption refrigeration and water distillation. Mini-gaps with pin-fin arrays have been highlighted for their potential to enhance transport in these applications by breaking up large liquid and gas structures, but two-phase flow mechanics are still poorly understood in such geometries. To address this need, an experimental study of adiabatic (air-water) two-phase flow is performed in horizontal mini-gaps with and without pin-fin arrays (2.5 × 95.3 mm cross section). High speed shadowgraphy and pressure drop measurements are collected for gas flow rates of 0.1 − 10.0 l min-1 and water flow rates of 0.05 to 2.82 l min-1. A parallel array of pressure transducers and selectable gas flow meters with varying ranges are employed to ensure high accuracy over the full range of experimental conditions. Visualization data is applied to form flow regime maps. Results from this project can help inform the design of next generation microscale heat exchangers.

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