Dimensional analysis on the evaporation and condensation of refrigerant R-134a in minichannel plate heat exchangers


Two-phase flow analysis for the evaporation and condensation of refrigerants within the minichannel plate heat exchangers is an area of ongoing research, as reported in the literatures reviewed in this article. The previous studies mostly correlated the two-phase heat transfer and pressure drop in these minichannel heat exchangers using theories and empirical correlations that had previously been established for two-phase flows in conventional macrochannels. However, the two-phase flow characteristics within micro/minichannels may be more sophisticated than conventional macrochannels, and the empirical correlations for one scale may not work for the other one. The objective of this study is to investigate the parameters that affect the two-phase heat transfer within the minichannel plate heat exchangers, and to utilize the dimensional analysis technique to develop appropriate correlations. For this purpose, thermo-hydrodynamic performance of three minichannel brazed-type plate heat exchangers was analyzed experimentally in this study. These heat exchangers were used as the evaporator and condenser of an automotive refrigeration system where the refrigerant R-134a flowed on one side and a 50% glycol–water mixture on the other side in a counter-flow configuration. The heat transfer coefficient for the single-phase flow of the glycol–water mixture was first obtained using a modified Wilson plot technique. The results from the single-phase flow analysis were then used in the two-phase flow analysis, and correlations for the refrigerant evaporation and condensation heat transfer were developed. Correlations for the single-phase and two-phase Fanning friction factors were also obtained based on a homogenous model. The results of this study showed that the two-phase theories and correlations that were established for conventional macrochannel heat exchangers may not hold for the minichannel heat exchangers used in this study.


Citation: Jokar, A., Hosni, M. H., & Eckels, S. J. (2006). Dimensional analysis on the evaporation and condensation of refrigerant R-134a in minichannel plate heat exchangers. Applied Thermal Engineering, 26(17), 2287–2300. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applthermaleng.2006.03.015


Condensation, Dimensional analysis, Enhanced heat transfer, Evaporation, Minichannels, Plate heat exchangers