Tube-fin Heat Exchanger, Circuitry Optimization, Genetic Algorithm, Split, Merge
Tube-fin heat exchangers (HXs) are widely used in air-conditioning and heat pump applications. The performance of these heat exchangers is strongly influenced by the refrigerant circuitry. Studies have proved that by optimizing the refrigerant circuitry, the performance of HXs can be significantly improved. In our previous research, an Integer Permutation based Genetic Algorithm (IPGA) was developed to obtain the optimal circuitry designs. Our previous research showed that IPGA demonstrates superior capability to obtain better refrigerant circuitries with lower computational cost than the other methods in literature. And the optimal circuitry designs obtained from IPGA are manufacturable with the available tooling. However, the IPGA developed previously cannot generate designs with splitting and merging of circuits. To remedy this limitation, a new chromosome which can represent circuitry with splitting and merging of circuits is developed. In addition to the six genetic operators implemented previously, two new genetic operators are developed to generate splits and merges. As a result, the enhanced IPGA can explore the solution space more thoroughly than the previous IPGA. A case study using an evaporator from an A-type indoor unit shows that, given the similar capacity improvements obtained from the enhanced IPGA compared with the previous IPGA, the refrigerant pressure drop reduction obtained from the enhanced IPGA is 26.5% compared against 1.0% pressure drop reduction from the previous IPGA. The benchmark of the enhanced IPGA with other methods in literature demonstrates that the enhanced IPGA can generate circuitry designs with performance superior to those obtained from other methods.