The Effect of Refrigeration Lubricant Properties on Nucleate Pool Boiling Heat Transfer Performance
refrigeration lubricant, heat transfer, pool boiling, model, bubble
Refrigeration lubricant plays a key role in lubricating and sealing during vapor compression processes. However, it may migrate to the evaporator to influence the heat transfer characteristics, either enhancement or degradation. The aim of this study is to fundamentally understand the effect of lubricant properties and bubble parameters on heat transfer performance. To clarify parameters affecting the heat transfer coefficient, several experiments were conducted on a horizontal flat surface, and pool-boiling phenomenon was recording by high-speed camera. Comparisons of heat transfer measurements for different refrigerant/lubricant mixtures were made, including two different refrigerants (R-134a & R-1234ze) and eight POE lubricants with different miscibility, ISO68 to ISO170 viscosity range. This study shows that improvements over pure refrigerant heat transfer can be obtained for refrigerant /lubricant mixtures with small lubricant mass fraction, high lubricant viscosity, and a low critical solution temperature (CST). The presence of lubricant will decrease the departure bubble diameter and may deteriorate heat transfer performance when the lubricant mass fraction is higher than 3%. A mechanistic explanation was provided for the observed refrigerant/lubricant boiling phenomenon, and we were successfully in creating a new model to quantify the effect of lubricant properties on the heat transfer performance. This model was developed based on cavity boiling theory, interfacial energy calculation between metal-liquid surface, and liquid-bubble interface. According to the model, the presence of lubricant layer on metal surface and surrounding the bubble will significantly alter waiting time of boiling, bubble departure time, activity site density of boiling incipience and superheat on heating surface.