Computational and ground-based experimental investigations of the effects of specified and unspecified (free) conditions at exit for condensing flows in terrestrial and micro-gravity environments

Document Type


Publication Date



Reported experimental and computational results confirm that both the flow features and heat transfer rates inside a condenser depend on the specification of inlet, wall, and exit conditions. The theoretical and experimental results presented in this paper allow us to propose important exit condition based categorization of these flows. Of these, category II flows are defined to be cases for which exit pressures are left unspecified. However it is shown here that steady flows under specified exit pressure conditions (category I flows) are more stable and can be more easily achieved under all conditions (normal or zero-gravity). Existence of self-selected exit pressure conditions for unspecified exit condition cases (category II flows) are more difficult to achieve and are often limited to gravity driven flows. In practice, however, special hardware arrangements are required for repeatable realization of both these categories of flow. If this is not so, one often has an inadvertent category I flow (flows with specified exit pressure) without the explicit knowledge of the exit pressure value. For microgravity situations, the remedy is to run condensers under suitably specified inlet and exit pressures (category I conditions) as well as a proper cooling strategy (i.e., proper wall temperature variations).

Publisher's Statement

© The New York Academy of Sciences. Publisher’s version of record: https://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1749-6632.2008.04324.x

Publication Title

Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences