Date of Award

2010

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering–Engineering Mechanics (PhD)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Advisor

Amitabh Narain

Abstract

This doctoral thesis presents the computational work and synthesis with experiments for internal (tube and channel geometries) as well as external (flow of a pure vapor over a horizontal plate) condensing flows. The computational work obtains accurate numerical simulations of the full two dimensional governing equations for steady and unsteady condensing flows in gravity/0g environments.

This doctoral work investigates flow features, flow regimes, attainability issues, stability issues, and responses to boundary fluctuations for condensing flows in different flow situations. This research finds new features of unsteady solutions of condensing flows; reveals interesting differences in gravity and shear driven situations; and discovers novel boundary condition sensitivities of shear driven internal condensing flows. Synthesis of computational and experimental results presented here for gravity driven in-tube flows lays framework for the future two-phase component analysis in any thermal system.

It is shown for both gravity and shear driven internal condensing flows that steady governing equations have unique solutions for given inlet pressure, given inlet vapor mass flow rate, and fixed cooling method for condensing surface. But unsteady equations of shear driven internal condensing flows can yield different “quasi-steady” solutions based on different specifications of exit pressure (equivalently exit mass flow rate) concurrent to the inlet pressure specification. This thesis presents a novel categorization of internal condensing flows based on their sensitivity to concurrently applied boundary (inlet and exit) conditions.

The computational investigations of an external shear driven flow of vapor condensing over a horizontal plate show limits of applicability of the analytical solution. Simulations for this external condensing flow discuss its stability issues and throw light on flow regime transitions because of ever-present bottom wall vibrations. It is identified that laminar to turbulent transition for these flows can get affected by ever present bottom wall vibrations. Detailed investigations of dynamic stability analysis of this shear driven external condensing flow result in the introduction of a new variable, which characterizes the ratio of strength of the underlying stabilizing attractor to that of destabilizing vibrations.

Besides development of CFD tools and computational algorithms, direct application of research done for this thesis is in effective prediction and design of two-phase components in thermal systems used in different applications. Some of the important internal condensing flow results about sensitivities to boundary fluctuations are also expected to be applicable to flow boiling phenomenon. Novel flow sensitivities discovered through this research, if employed effectively after system level analysis, will result in the development of better control strategies in ground and space based two-phase thermal systems.

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