Effects of gravity, shear and surface tension in internal condensing flows: Results from direct computational simulations

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The paper presents accurate numerical solutions of the full two-dimensional governing equations for steady and unsteady laminar/laminar internal condensing flows. The results relate to issues of better design and integration of condenser-sections in thermal management systems (looped heat pipes, etc.). The flow geometry, in normal or zero gravity, is chosen to be the inside of a channel with film condensation on one of the walls. In normal gravity, film condensation is on the bottom wall of a tilted (from vertical to horizontal) channel. It is found that it is important to know whether the exit conditions are constrained or unconstrained because nearly incompressible vapor flows occur only for exit conditions that are unconstrained. For the incompressible vapor flow situations, a method for computationally obtaining the requisite exit condition and associated stable steady/ quasi-steady solutions is given here and the resulting solutions are shown to be in good agreement with some relevant experimental data for horizontal channels. These solutions are shown to be sensitive to the frequency and amplitude of the various Fourier components that represent the ever-present and minuscule transverse vibrations (standing waves) of the condensing surface. Compared to a vertical channel in normal gravity, shear driven zero gravity cases have much larger pressure drops, much slower wave speeds, much larger noise sensitive wave amplitudes that are controlled by surface tension, and narrower flow regime boundaries within which vapor flow can be considered incompressible. It is shown that significant enhancement in wave-energy and/or heattransfer rates, if desired, are possible by designing the condensing surface noise to be in resonance with the intrinsic waves.

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Copyright © 2004 by ASME. Publisher's version of record: http://dx.doi.org/10.1115/1.1777586

Publication Title

Journal of Heat Transfer