The importance of turbulence during condensation in a horizontal circular minichannel
Document Type Article
Three-dimensional simulations of condensation of refrigerant R134a in a horizontal minichannel are presented. Mass fluxes ranging from 50kgm^-2 s^-1 up to 1000kgm^-2 s^-1 are considered in a circular minichannel of 1mm diameter, and uniform wall and vapour–liquid interface temperatures are imposed as boundary conditions. The Volume of Fluid (VOF) method is used to track the vapour–liquid interface; the effects of interfacial shear stress, gravity and surface tension are taken into account. The influence of turbulence in the condensate film is analysed and compared against the assumption of laminar condensate flow by employing different computational approaches and validating the results against experimental data. Under the assumption of laminar condensate flow, experimental heat transfer coefficient values at low mass fluxes can be predicted, but the computed heat transfer coefficient is found to be almost independent of mass flux and vapour quality. Only when turbulence in the condensate film is taken into account does the numerical model capture the influence of mass flux that is observed in the experimental measurements.