Steady and unsteady simulations for annular internal condensing flows in a channel

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



This paper highlights: (i) numerical methods developed to solve annular/stratified internal condensing flow problems, and (ii) the assessed effects of transverse gravity and surface tension on shear driven (horizontal channels) and gravity driven (inclined channels) internal condensing flows. A comparative study of the flow physics is presented with the help of steady and unsteady computational results obtained from the numerical solutions of the full two-dimensional governing equations for annular internal condensing flows. These simulations directly apply to recently-demonstrated innovative condenser operations which make the flow regime annular over the entire length of the condenser. The simulation algorithm is based on an active integration of our own codes developed on MATLAB with the standard single-phase CFD simulation codes available on COMSOL. The approach allows for an accurate wave simulation technique for the highly sensitive shear driven annular condensing flows.

This simulation approach employs a sharp-interface model and uses a moving grid technique to accurately locate the dynamic interface by the solution of the interface tracking equation (employing the method of characteristics) along with the rest of the governing equations. The 4th order time-step accuracy in the method of characteristics has enabled, for the first time, the ability to track time-varying interface locations associated with wave phenomena and accurate satisfaction of all the interface conditions — including the more difficult to satisfy interfacial mass-flux equalities.

A combination of steady and unsteady simulation results are also used to identify the effects of transverse gravity, axial gravity, and surface tension on the growth of waves. The results presented bring out the differences within different types of shear driven flows and differences between shear driven and gravity driven flows.

The unsteady wave simulation capability has been used here to do the stability analysis for annular shear-driven steady flows. In stability analysis, an assessment of the dynamic response of the steady solutions to arbitrary instantaneous initial disturbance are obtained. The results mark the location beyond which the annular regime transitions to a non-annular regime (experimentally known to be a plug-slug regimes).

The computational prediction of heat-flux values agree with the experimentally measured values (at measurement locations) obtained from relevant runs of our in-house experiments. Also, a comparison between the computationally predicted and experimentally measured values regarding the length of the annular regime is possible, and will be presented elsewhere.

Publisher's Statement

© 2014 ASME. Publisher’s version of record: http://dx.doi.org/10.1115/IMECE2014-38445

Publication Title

ASME 2014 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition: Heat Transfer and Thermal Engineering