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PhD Thesis Abstract Investigation of the Boiling Process In Water Evaporators with Internal Capillary Structure

Y.B.M. Elhag
School of Engineering, Kingston University, Friars Avenue, Roehampton Vale, London, SW15 3DW, UK Mar 2006

In this research, boiling inside an evaporator whose tubes are lined with internal circumferential layer of sintered metal powder was investigated analytically and experimentally. This is done in an attempt to overcome the problems associated with water boiling at low temperature inside the evaporators of absorption air conditioners which use water as a refrigerant. This would eventually enable the use of a single heat exchanger in such refrigeration cycles to cool the air instead of using two heat exchangers as is currently done. That, in turn, would reduce the cost and improve the thermal efficiency. A theoretical back ground to help understand the mechanisms of boiling in porous structures was first introduced and then the literature on boiling in capillary structures; both porous and grooved structures was critically reviewed. In the analytical phase of this research a mathematical model was built incorporating the heat transfer processes that take place when hot load air flows across a two-row staggered sintered tube evaporator of an absorption lithium bromide/water cycle. This model was then used in an iterative computational scheme, using FORTRAN 95 language to simulate boiling performance of the modified tubes. Results were obtained for boiling heat rates and boiling heat transfer coefficients and plotted against particle size and layer thickness. The heat transfer limits were determined analytically using heat pipe theory. In the experimental work, sixteen evaporators differing in particles size and layer thickness were tested. Four particle sizes; 50, 100, 200 and 300 m, and four layer thicknesses for each particle size; 1.0, 1.5, 2.0 and 2.5 mm, were tested at different load air velocities and temperatures. The obtained results were plotted against particle size and layer thickness.

Wall superheats as low as 0.77 C and boiling heat transfer coefficients as high as 6890 were achieved experimentally. Good agreement was found between the experimental boiling heat rate and the analytical one when using ONeils [35] boiling formula. Both results showed that the boiling heat rate increases gradually to a maximum with increase in particle size and then decreases. However, the experimental boiling heat rate is found to be slightly higher than the analytical one. On average, the analytical heat rate was about 74% of the experimental one. The analytical boiling heat rate obtained using Rao and Balkrishnan [32] boiling formula, was found to monotonically increase with increase in particle size. However, it was smaller than the experimental one as it only mounted to 30% of the experimental one on average. The experimental boiling heat transfer coefficients trend was found to be similar to that of the experimental boiling heat rate, i.e. increases slowly to a maximum and then decreases. The effect of varying the sintered layer thickness on the boiling performance of the evaporators is found to be relatively mild compared to that of the particle size. This trend showed varying effects of the layer thickness on boiling performance. Some of the curves showed mild monotonous decrease in performance with increasing layer thickness while others showed monotonous increase in performance for both, boiling heat rate and boiling heat transfer coefficient. The discrepancy between the analytical and experimental results was explained in terms of the inaccuracies resulting from underestimating flooding boiling nucleation sites for the large particle size evaporators and from using Darcys law and Clapeyron equations in deriving the analytical models.