Microchannels, Condensation, Flow Boiling, Non-azeotropic mixture
In the recent years much attention has been paid to the use of fluorinated propene isomers for the substitution of high-GWP refrigerants. However, the HFOs (hydrofluoroolefins) cannot cover all the air-conditioning, heat pump, and refrigeration applications. In a recent study, it was found that the coefficient of performance (COP) and the capacity of heat pump cycles using HFO-1234ze(E) are significantly lower than those of R410A (Koyama et al., 2010). The main causes are the small latent heat and vapor density of R1234ze(E). To improve the COP and capacity, in the latest literature it was attempted to blend R1234ze(E) into another refrigerant, R32 Although R32 is one of the HFCs, it has relatively low GWP and excellent thermodynamic characteristics. Therefore, a zeotropic mixture of R1234ze(E) and R32 can be used in the field of air-conditioning due to its mild impact on environment. In this paper, a mixture of R1234ze(E) and R32 (0.5/0.5 by mass) is under study. In particular the frictional pressure gradient and the local heat transfer coefficients during flow boiling and condensation of this mixture in a single minichannel with 0.96 mm diameter are measured. Tests are carried out in the experimental apparatus available at the Two Phase Heat Transfer Lab of the University of Padova. As a peculiar characteristic of the present technique, the flow boiling heat transfer coefficient is not measured by imposing the heat flux; instead, the boiling process is governed by controlling the inlet temperature of the heating secondary fluid. For the determination of the local heat transfer coefficient, three parameters are measured: the local heat flux, the saturation temperature and the wall temperature. The heat flux is determined from the temperature profile of the secondary fluid in the test section. The wall temperature is directly measured along the test section and the saturation temperature is obtained from the pressure measurements at the inlet and outlet of the test tube. During condensation tests, the heat is subtracted from the fluid by using cold water. As in flow boiling, the heat transfer coefficient is obtained through the measurement of the local heat flux and the saturation-to-wall temperature difference. The heat transfer coefficients are compared against predicting models available in the literature. The new experimental data are also compared to heat transfer data of pure R1234ze(E) and R32. This allows to analyze the heat transfer penalization due to the mass transfer resistance of this zeotropic mixture and to assess available predicting models for condensation and evaporation of zeotropic mixtures in minichannels. Pressure drop data are also used to assess predicting pressure gradient correlations.