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Prediction and simulation of two-phase pressure drop in

return bends
Miguel Padilla
a,b,c
, Remi Revellin
a,b,c
, Jocelyn Bonjour
a,b,c,
*
a
Universite de Lyon, CNRS, France
b
INSA-Lyon, CETHIL, UMR5008, F-69621, Villeurbanne, France
c
Universite Lyon 1, F-69622, France
a r t i c l e i n f o
Article history:
Received 11 March 2009
Received in revised form
13 May 2009
Accepted 5 June 2009
Published online 17 June 2009
Keywords:
Refrigeration system
Piping
Geometry
Modelling
Simulation
Pressure drop
Two-phase ow
a b s t r a c t
In this paper, 325 pressure drop data points measured in return bends have been collected
from the literature. The database includes 3 different uids (R-12, R-134a and R-410A) from
two laboratories. Based on this database, a new method is proposed for predicting the
pressure gradient in return bends, which is the sum of the frictional pressure gradient that
would be obtained in straight tubes (predicted by Mu ller-Steinhagen and Heck, 1986
correlation) and the singular pressure gradient (proposed equation). The proposed
correlation includes only two empirical constants and exhibits the correct physical limits.
Using the proposed equation, simulations have been performed to predict the effect of
uid, mass velocity and saturation temperature on the singular pressure gradient.
2009 Elsevier Ltd and IIR. All rights reserved.
Chute de pression diphasique dans les coudes de retour :
pre vision et simulation
Mots cles : Syste` me frigorique ; Tuyauterie ; Ge ome trie ; Mode lisation ; Simulation ; Chute de pression ; E

coulement diphasique
1. Introduction
The purpose of this study is to characterize the ow distur-
bances caused by return bends and their effects on the
hydrodynamic (i.e. pressure drop) performance of refrigerants
in refrigeration systems such as air conditioners or heat
pumps. This problem is of great interest in HVAC&R industry
especially in the design of evaporator and condenser coils. As
* Corresponding author. INSA-Lyon, CETHIL, UMR5008, F-69621, Villeurbanne, France. Tel.: 33 4 72 43 64 27; fax: 33 4 72 43 88 10.
E-mail address: jocelyn.bonjour@insa-lyon.fr (J. Bonjour).
www. i i i r . or g
avai l abl e at www. sci encedi r ect . com
j our nal homepage: www. el sevi er . com/ l ocat e/ i j r ef r i g
0140-7007/$ see front matter 2009 Elsevier Ltd and IIR. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.ijrefrig.2009.06.006
i nt e r na t i o na l j our na l of r e f r i g e r a t i on 3 2 ( 2 0 0 9 ) 1 7 7 6 1 7 8 3
a matter of fact, it is necessary to know not only the pressure
drop in straight tubes, but also that in singularities such as in
return bends. These parameters will be useful for designing
the evaporators and condensers. As a matter of fact, the effect
of sigularities on the hydrodynamic performance increases
whenthe evaporators and condensers become more and more
compact.
1.1. Existing experimental studies
Two-phase ow pressure drops in return bends in refrigera-
tion systems have been experimentally investigated by
several authors in the open literature. Pierre (1964) studied the
pressure drop of R-12 in return bends with two-phase ow for
the oil-free medium and for oil-refrigerant mixtures. He used
a test section which consisted of a straight tube and an
evaporator, made with six 180

return bends in copper tubing.


The evaporation temperature was 0

C and 10

C, and the
vapor quality in the bend was varying between 0.30 and 0.98.
The refrigerant mass ux was comprised between 134 and
208 kg/m
2
s. The author made a calculation diagram for
pressure drop in evaporators with an experimental resistance
factor for different types of return bends. Using the same uid
(R-12), Traviss and Rohsenow (1973) measured two-phase
pressure drops in a 8 mm tube in order to determine whether
the disturbance caused by a return bend was only a localized
effect or extended over a signicant length of the condenser
tube. They found that the effect of a return bend on the
downstream pressure drop was negligible when averaged
over a length of 90 tube diameters or more. Nevertheless,
Hoang and Davis (1984) suggested that the length of nine tube
diameters is required to complete the phases remixing
process downstream of the return bend.
Geary (1975) investigated the two-phase adiabatic ow
pressure drop in returnbends based on his R-22 data withtube
diameters from 11.05 mm to 11.63 mm with curvature ratios
(2R/D) from 2.317 to 6.54. He proposed a correlation for pre-
dicting the two-phase pressure drop for design purposes in
typical air-conditioning applications. In this paper, the author
also proposes two-phase frictional pressure drop data for
straight tubes.
Later, Chen et al. (2004) presented single-phase and two-
phase frictional data of R-410A in four type of return bends
with tube diameters ranging from 3.3 and 5.07 mm and
curvature ratios varying from 3.91 to 8.15. They proposed
a modied two-phase friction factor based on Gearys corre-
lation. Then, Chen et al. (2007) presented a study with single-
phase and two-phase pressure drop data for R-134a/oil
mixture with oil concentration of 0%, 1%, 3% and 5%, owing
in a wavy tube with an inner diameter of 5.07 mm and
a curvature ratio of 5.18. Very recently, Chen et al. (2008)
presented measurements of R-134a two-phase frictional
pressure gradients for vertical and horizontal arrangements of
a U-type copper wavy tube which contained nine consecutive
return bends with an inner diameter of 5.07 mm and a curva-
ture ratio of 5.18. The working temperature was near 25

C, the
mass ux ranged from 200 to 700 kg/m
2
s and the vapor
quality varied from 0.1 to 0.9. They conducted their tests for
vertical arrangement by selecting the inlet ow at the upper
tube or at the lower tube in the return bend. They found that
the pressure gradients in the return bend of vertical arrange-
ment were always higher than those of horizontal arrange-
ment regardless the owentry was at the upper or at the lower
tube. Furthermore, the pressure gradient for a ow entering at
the upper tube was higher than that for a ow entering at the
lower tube because of the inuence of buoyancy.
1.2. Prediction methods
In the open literature, among the articles related to two-phase
pressure drop correlations in return bends, only six of them
provided specic information (uid, saturation temperature,
mass velocity, diameter, etc.) using refrigerants only. Pierre
(1964) proposed a correlation, only valid for horizontal tubes,
based on his experiments carried out with R-12 by assuming
that the total ow resistance is divided into two part: the rst
Nomenclature
a empirical constant (s
2/3
/m
1/3
)
b empirical constant
D tube diameter (m)
f friction factor
G mass velocity (kg/m
2
s)
J supercial velocity (m/s)
K pressure drop coefcient of Chisholm (1983)
L length (m)
MAE mean absolute error
MAE
1
N

N
1

predicted valueexperimental value


experimental value

100
_
%
_
MRE mean relative error
MAE
1
N

N
1

predicted valueexperimental value


experimental value

100
_
%
_
p pressure (Pa)
R curvature radius (m)
Re Reynolds number
We Weber number
x vapor quality
Greeks
L curvature multiplier of Domanski and Hermes
(2008)
m dynamic viscosity (Pa s)
F two-phase multiplier
J curvature multiplier
r density (kg/m
3
)
s surface tension (N/m)
Sub and superscripts
f frictional
l liquid
o turning of the ow
rb return bend
sing singular
sp single-phase
st straight tube
tp two-phase
v vapor
i nt e r na t i o na l j o ur na l o f r e f r i g e r a t i o n 3 2 ( 2 0 0 9 ) 1 7 7 6 1 7 8 3 1777
one corresponds to the turning of the ow, and the second one
to the friction only. This is expressed as follows:
Dp
rb
Dp
o
Dp
f
(1)
where Dp
rb
is the total pressure drop in the return bend, Dp
o
is
the pressure drop due to the turning of the ow and Dp
f
is the
pressure drop due to the friction. For the calculation of Dp
o
and Dp
f
, one needs to refer to two different graphs so as to
determine the corresponding resistance factor. Those values
of the resistance factors obtained by Pierre for the center-to-
center distance (2R) considered in his study, showed little
inuence of the center-to-center distance of the bend in the
resulting pressure drop. In that sense, Pierre concluded that
this parameter was not of major importance and did not
include it in his pressure drop correlation.
Geary (1975) presented a correlation (using 4 empirical
constants) by using the friction factor approach of the straight
tubes. The correlation of the two-phase pressure drop in
return bends consisted in a single-phase pressure drop
equation for vapor ow only. He included a dimensionless
friction factor depending on the effects of the vapor quality
and the center-to-center distance in return bends. The pres-
sure drop induced by the return bends was expressed as:
Dp
rb
f
L
D
G
2
x
2
2r
v
(2)
where L is the bend length, D is the tube diameter, r
v
is the
density of the vapor phase and f is a dimensionless friction
factor given by:
f
8:03 10
4
Re
0:5
v
exp0:2152R=Dx
1:25
(3)
In Eq. (3), Re
v
is the Reynolds number (GDx/m
v
) of the vapor
phase and the term 2R/D represents the curvature ratio of the
return bend.
Chisholm (1983) proposed a correlation (using 5 empirical
constants) to calculate the pressure drop in return bends Dp
rb
by using a two-phase multiplier F and the single-phase ow
liquid pressure drop in the return bend Dp
sp
:
Dp
rb
FDp
sp
(4)
where Dp
sp
is expressed as follows:
Dp
sp
K
sp
G
2
2r
l
(5)
In Eq. (5), r
l
is the density of the liquid phase and K
sp
is the all-
liquid local pressure drop coefcient obtained for single-phase
ows. To estimate the value of K
sp
, Idelshik (1986) suggested
the following expression:
K
sp
f
l
L
D
0:294
_
R
D
_
0:5
(6)
where R is the curvature radius and f
l
is the single-phase
friction factor calculated from the Blasius equations.
The two-phase multiplier F in Eq. (4) is given by:
F 1
_
r
l
r
v
1
_
xb1 x x (7)
where b is expressed as:
b 1
2:2
K
sp
2 R=D
(8)
The Chisholm (1983) and Idelshik (1986) method did not
provide validation against experimental measurements.
Based on Gearys correlation and using Gearys R-22 database
and their own R-410A database, Chen et al. (2004) presented
a new correlation for the friction factor from the empirical t,
including new parameters such as the Weber number and
a combined vapor and liquid Reynolds number as well as the
vapor quality and the curvature ratio 2R/D. The expression of
the friction fraction is written as:
f
10
2
Re
0:35
m
We
0:12
v
exp0:1942R=Dx
1:26
(9)
where Re
m
Re
v
Re
l
GDx=m
v
1 x=m
l
is a combined
vapor and liquid Reynolds number and We
v
G
2
D/r
v
s is the
Weber number which takes into account the inuence of the
surface tension in the two-phase frictional pressure drop. The
authors reported a good agreement with their own R-410A
database and with Gearys R-22 database, with a mean devi-
ation of 19.1%.
Recently, Domanski and Hermes (2008) proposed a corre-
lation for the calculation of the two-phase pressure gradient
in return bends based on 241 experimental data points from
Gearys R-22 database and Chen et al. (2004) R-410A database.
The correlation allowed predicting the two-phase pressure
gradient in a straight tube using the Mu ller-Steinhagen and
Heck (1986) correlation and using a multiplier that accounted
for the bend curvature:
_
dp
dz
_
rb
L
_
dp
dz
_
st
(10)
The multiplier L includes ve empirical constants and takes
into account the inuence of the vapor velocity and the mass
distribution in each phase. The multiplier L is given by:
L 6:5 10
3
_
GxD
m
v
_
0:54
_
1
x
1
_
0:21
_
r
l
r
v
_
0:34
_
2R
D
_
0:67
(11)
The Domanski and Hermes (2008) correlation predicted 75%of
the 241 experimental data points within a 25% error band
and exhibited a RMS deviation of 25%.
The purpose of this study is to develop a prediction method
that includes as few empirical parameters as possible and
based, as much as possible, on the phenomena encountered
during two-phase ow in return bends.
2. Presentation of the experimental database
from the literature
A total of 690 experimental data points have been collected
fromthe literature: Pierre (1964), Traviss and Rohsenow(1973),
Geary (1975), Wang et al. (2003), Chen et al. (2004, 2007, 2008).
These data come from four different laboratories and the
database includes four different refrigerants. However, some
of these data have been removed from the database for the
following reasons:
i nt e r na t i o na l j our na l of r e f r i g e r a t i on 3 2 ( 2 0 0 9 ) 1 7 7 6 1 7 8 3 1778
- The pressure drop measurements in the return bend were
lower than those in the straight tube, which is obviously
not realistic and is probably a clue for too low accuracy.
- The length between two consecutive return bends was
less than 4.8D. In the literature, a length between 9D
(Hoang and Davis, 1984) and 90D (Traviss and Rohsenow,
1973) was proposed to let the ow regimes recover after
the return bend. Nevertheless, it can be observed that the
proposed correlation allows predicting the data down to
4.8D.
- The R-22 data from Geary have been removed. The author
indeed presents pressure drop data for straight tube as
well as for return bends. Regarding the data for straight
tube (Fig. 1), it is not possible to predict them using the
Mu ller-Steinhagen and Heck (1986) correlation whereas
this correlation is now often considered as very efcient
for such conditions. Especially it has been shown to work
satisfactorily with R-22 (Revellin and Haberschill, 2009).
The difference is signicant. It can be remarked that
Gearys data are not reliable for straight tubes, and are not
reliable either for return bends. Gearys data have been
therefore removed from the database.
Finally, the database used for developing the new predic-
tion method includes 325 data points from Traviss and Roh-
senow (1973) for R-12, Chen et al. (2004) for R-410A and Chen
et al. (2007, 2008) for R-134a. The ranges of the experimental
data, with the uncertainties reported by the authors, are pre-
sented in Table 1. As can be observed, the tube diameter varies
from 3.25 to 8 mm, the curvature ratios from 3.175 to 8.15, the
mass velocity ranges from 150 to 900 kg/m
2
s and the vapor
quality from 0.0095 to 0.9367. The saturation temperature
varies from 10 to 39

C. Each parameter exhibits a large vari-
ation and, as a consequence, the database is statistically
representative. It is worth mentioning that the data corre-
spond to the total pressure gradient in return bends, i.e. the
sum of the frictional pressure gradient in straight tubes plus
the singular pressure gradient.
3. Comparison to existing methods
Existing prediction methods have been used to check their
efciency for predicting the experimental results of the
experimental database from two laboratories. Fig. 2 presents
the comparison between the data and the method proposed
by Chisholm (1983) and Idelshik (1986). As can be observed,
only 31.4% of the data are predicted within a 30% error band.
The MAE is around 107%. It is clear that this method does not
work at all for predicting the pressure drops in return bends.
Fig. 3 shows the results of the comparison between the
experimental data and the correlation developed by Chen
et al. (2004). 39.7% of the data are predicted within a 30%
error band. The prediction is however better for R-134a and R-
410A than for R-12. It is noteworthy that the R-134a and R-
410A data come from the same author and that the R-12 data
include a diameter (8 mm), which is different from that used
0 2 4 6 8 10 12
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
Experimental frictional pressure gradient in
straight tube [kPa/m]
P
r
e
d
i
c
t
e
d

f
r
i
c
t
i
o
n
a
l

p
r
e
s
s
u
r
e

g
r
a
d
i
e
n
t

i
n

s
t
r
a
i
g
h
t

t
u
b
e

[
k
P
a
/
m
]


MllerSteinhagen & Heck correlation
37.2 % of the data within 30%
MAE = 97.0%
MRE = 43.9%
R22 (Gearys data)
Fig. 1 Comparison between the experimental frictional
pressure gradient in straight tubes from Geary (1975) and
the predicted one by Mu ller-Steinhagen and Heck (1986).
Table 1 Experimental conditions of Traviss and Rohsenow (1973), Chen et al. (2007, 2008, 2004).
Authors Refrigerant D (mm) 2R/D G (kg/m
2
s) T
sat
(

C) x Number of
data points
DP
rb
,
Uncertainty
Traviss and
Rohsenow (1973)
R-12 8 3.175 155 34 0.2180.77 21 Not reported
300 38 0.00950.9367 35
500 39 0.1470.928 24
6.35 150 34 0.1540.935 24
300 34 0.0460.932 35
Chen et al. (2007) R-134a 5.07 5.18 200700 20 0.10.9 27 0.3%
Chen et al. (2008) R-134a 5.07 5.18 200700 25 0.10.9 25 0.5%
5.07
a
200700 25 0.10.9 25 0.5%
5.07
b
200700 25 0.10.9 26 0.5%
Chen et al. (2004) R-410A 3.25 3.91 300900 25 0.10.9 33 0.5%
3.3 8.15 300900 1025 0.10.9 50 0.5%
Total 3.258.00 3.1758.15 150900 1039 0.00950.9367 325
a Vertical ow - Inlet is at the upper tube.
b Vertical ow - Inlet is at the lower tube.
i nt e r na t i o na l j o ur na l o f r e f r i g e r a t i o n 3 2 ( 2 0 0 9 ) 1 7 7 6 1 7 8 3 1779
by Chen et al. (2004) for developing their correlation. It was
therefore expected these data to be well predicted by Chen
et al. (2004). Fig. 4 shows the comparison between the
Domanski and Hermes (2008) correlation and the database
(Table 1). This correlation predicts 44% of the data within
a 30% error band with a MAE around 62.9%. The correlation
predicts relatively well the R-410A data, which is not
surprising since Domanski and Hermes (2008) uses the same
data for developing their correlation.
Accurately predicting the data is important but the
prediction methods must also presents the correct physical
limits. As an example, Fig. 5 shows the curvature multiplier L
proposed by Domanski and Hermes (2008) as a function of the
curvature ratio 2R/D. The ratio between the return bend
pressure gradient determined by the Chen et al. (2004) and the
Chisholm (1983) correlations and the straight tube pressure
gradient determined by the Mu ller-Steinhagen and Heck
(1986) correlation was also calculated. As can be observed,
when 2R/D/0, L/Nwhich is correct. Nevertheless, when
2R/D/N, L<1 which is not physical. In that case, L must
tend toward 1.
A new method must be developed not only to correctly
predict the data but also to be in agreement with the physical
limits. This new prediction method is presented hereafter.
4. New prediction method for return bends
Now, the intention is to develop a new method for predicting
the pressure gradient in return bends using a different
approach from that used in other studies. The ratio between
the pressure gradient in return bends and that in straight
tubes will not be calculated. On the contrary, by analogy with
single-phase ow, a force balance has been carried out on
both phases. As a result, the centrifugal force acting on both
phases due to the return bend has been considered. This
analysis has thus led to the use of the supercial velocities, as
encountered in a two-uid model (separated ow model). As
0.1 1 10 100 1000
0.1
1
10
100
1000
Experimental pressure gradient in
return bends [kPa/m]
P
r
e
d
i
c
t
e
d

p
r
e
s
s
u
r
e

g
r
a
d
i
e
n
t

i
n
r
e
t
u
r
n

b
e
n
d
s

[
k
P
a
/
m
]

Chisholm & Idelshik correlation
31.4 % of the data within 30 %
MAE = 107.0 %
MRE = 102.4 %
R12
R134a
R410A
Fig. 2 Experimental pressure gradient data compared to
the Chisholm and Idelshik method.
0.1 1 10 100 1000
0.1
1
10
100
1000
Experimental pressure gradient in
return bends [kPa/m]
P
r
e
d
i
c
t
e
d

p
r
e
s
s
u
r
e

g
r
a
d
i
e
n
t

i
n
r
e
t
u
r
n

b
e
n
d
s

[
k
P
a
/
m
]


Chen et al correlation
39.7 % of the data within 30 %
MAE = 84.7 %
MRE = 77.0 %
R12
R134a
R410A
Fig. 3 Experimental pressure gradient data compared to
the Chen et al. (2004) prediction method.
0.1 1 10 100 1000
0.1
1
10
100
1000
Experimental pressure gradient in
return bends [kPa/m]
P
r
e
d
i
c
t
e
d

p
r
e
s
s
u
r
e

g
r
a
d
i
e
n
t

i
n
r
e
t
u
r
n

b
e
n
d
s

[
k
P
a
/
m
]


Domanski & Hermes correlation
44.0 % of the data within 30 %
MAE = 62.9 %
MRE = 54.7 %
R12
R134a
R410A
Fig. 4 Experimental pressure gradient data compared to
the Domanski and Hermes (2008) prediction method.
0 10 20 30 40 50
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
C
u
r
v
a
t
u
r
e

m
u
l
t
i
p
l
i
e
r


[

]
Curvature ratio []


R134a
D = 5 mm
T
sat
= 20 C
G = 200 kg/m
2
s
x= 0.2
Chisholm & Idelshik
Chen et al.
Domanski & Hermes
Fig. 5 Curvature multiplier (dp/dz)
rb
/(dp/dz)
st
as a function
of the curvature ratio (2R/D) for different prediction
methods.
i nt e r na t i o na l j our na l of r e f r i g e r a t i on 3 2 ( 2 0 0 9 ) 1 7 7 6 1 7 8 3 1780
a result, the total measured pressure gradient in return bends
is given by the following relation:
_

dp
dz
_
rb

dp
dz
_
st

dp
dz
_
sing
(12)
where (dp/dz)
st
is the frictional pressure gradient that would
be reached in straight tubes calculated by the Mu ller-Stein-
hagen and Heck (1986) correlation (plus eventually the static
pressure gradient for vertical orientation (Thome, 2004)). The
second term (dp/dz)
sing
is the singular pressure gradient.
From the whole database (Table 1), it is given by the following
relation:
_
dp
dz
_
sing
a
_
r
v
J
2
v
R
_ _
J
2
l
R
_b
(13)
where a 0.047 s
2/3
/m
1/3
and b 1/3. This constant and this
exponent were obtained from the least square method based
on the experimental data shown in Table 1. R is the radius of
the curvature, J
v
is the supercial velocity of the vapor written
as:
J
v

Gx
r
v
(14)
and J
l
is the supercial velocity of the liquid expressed as
J
l

G1 x
r
l
(15)
G represents the mass velocity, x the vapor quality and r
v
and
r
l
are the densities of the vapor and the liquid, respectively. All
the parameters (mass velocity, densities, radius.) should be
taken in the S.I. units (see Nomenclature). The comparison
between the proposed prediction method and the database
from the literature is shown in Fig. 6. Almost 67% of the data
are predicted within a 30% error band. The mean absolute
error is less than 23.5% and the mean relative error is around
8%. The prediction is satisfactory. Using the same singular
pressure gradient correlation but the Friedel (1979) correlation
instead of the Mu ller-Steinhagen and Heck (1986) relation for
the straight tube, this yields a MAE of 26% which is still
correct. In addition, if the Revellin and Haberschill (2009)
model and the Gro nnerud (1972) correlation were used, this
would have yielded MAE 32.7% and MAE 35.7%, respec-
tively. Comparing the proposed prediction method (Eq. (13))
and the Geary (1975) database, only 3.5% of the data are pre-
dicted within a 30% error band, with a MAE of 79.9% and
a MRE of 79.7%. These results show that it is not possible to
predict the Geary (1975) data using the proposed correlation,
probably for the same reason as it was not possible to predict
the straight tube values witha very conventional method such
as Mu ller-Steinhagen and Heck (1986) (cf. Section 2 and Fig. 1).
Eq. (13) presents many advantages:
- Only two empirical constants have been used for devel-
oping this equation (instead of ve for Domanski and
Hermes (2008) and Chen et al. (2004)).
- The relation has been developed based on a large data-
base: 325 data points for three different uids obtained in
two different laboratories.
- The equation works for horizontal and vertical return
bends (51 data points in vertical orientation from Chen
et al. (2004) database).
- The relation has been developed over a wide range of tube
diameters (3.258.00 mm), mass velocities (150900 kg/
m
2
s), saturation temperatures (1039

C) and over the all
range of vapor quality (0.00950.9367).
- The term r
v
J
2
v
=R represents the centrifugal force acting
on the vapor phase due to the return bend.
- The term J
2
1
=R takes into account the centrifugal force
acting on the liquid phase due to the return bend.
- Therelationisindependent of thediameter, whichislogical
in view of the following reasoning: the curvature effect on
the pressure gradient in a straight tube is predicted. The
diameter effect is thus directly taken into account by the
Mu ller-Steinhagen and Heck (1986) correlation.
- There is no term including the properties such as m
v
,m
l
or
s. This seems logical since the singularity should only be
affected by the curvature effect and not the transport
properties.
- Rearranging Eq. (12), it comes:
0.1 1 10 100 1000
0.1
1
10
100
1000
Experimental pressure gradient in
return bends [kPa/m]
P
r
e
d
i
c
t
e
d

p
r
e
s
s
u
r
e

g
r
a
d
i
e
n
t

i
n

r
e
t
u
r
n

b
e
n
d
s

[
k
P
a
/
m
]


Proposed correlation
66.5 % of the data within 30 %
MAE = 23.5 %
MRE = 7.7 %
R12
R134a
R410A
Fig. 6 Experimental pressure gradient data for return
bends (Table 1) compared to the present prediction method.
0 10 20 30 40 50
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
C
u
r
v
a
t
u
r
e

m
u
l
t
i
p
l
i
e
r


[

]
Curvature ratio []


R410A
D = 3.3 mm
T
sat
= 25 C
G = 300 kg/m
2
s
x= 0.2
Chisholm & Idelshik
Chen et al.
Domanski & Hermes
Proposed
Fig. 7 Curvature multiplier (dp/dz)
rb
/(dp/dz)
st
as a function
of the curvature ratio (2R/D) for the present prediction
method and different correlations from the literature.
i nt e r na t i o na l j o ur na l o f r e f r i g e r a t i o n 3 2 ( 2 0 0 9 ) 1 7 7 6 1 7 8 3 1781
_
dp
dz
_
rb

_
dp
dz
_
st
_
1

dp
dz
_
sing
_
dp
dz
_
st
_

_
dp
dz
_
st
J (16)
It can be observed that the physical limits are correct. In
Eq. (16), the curvature multiplier J represents the ratio
between the pressure gradient in return bends and that in
straight tubes calculated by the Mu ller-Steinhagen and Heck
(1986) correlation. When the curvature radius R /N, the
curvature multiplier J/1 andthe resulting pressure gradient
in return bends tends toward the pressure gradient in straight
tubes. Furthermore, when R /0, the curvature multiplier
J/N and the pressure gradient in return bends tends
toward innity. In order to illustrate this, Fig. 7 shows the
curvature multiplier Jas a function of the curvature ratio for
four different return bend pressure gradient correlations (the
Chisholm (1983) and Idelshik (1986) method, the Chen et al.
(2004), the Domanski and Hermes (2008) and present correla-
tions). The pressure gradient in straight tubes is calculated
using the Mu ller-Steinhagen and Heck (1986) correlation.
Fig. 8(a) and (b) shows the comparison between the Chis-
holm (1983) and Idelshik (1986) method, the Chen et al. (2004)
and the Domanski and Hermes (2008) correlations, the
proposed equation and some data available in the literature.
The simulations have been performed using R-410A and
R-134a for different conditions. It is shown that the proposed
correlation is the best method for predicting the data and for
determining the vapor quality corresponding to the maximum
value of the pressure gradient (so does the method by
Domanski and Hermes (2008)).
In addition to the previous comparisons, simulations have
beenperformedusing the proposedequation. Fig. 9(a) shows the
effect of the mass velocity on the singular pressure gradient
(dp/dz)
sing
. Note that the range of the mass velocity has been
voluntarily extrapolated in order to see any particular behavior.
As can be observed, the higher the mass velocity, the larger the
singular pressure gradient. There is indeed an increase of the
centrifugal force when G increases. The singular pressure
gradient increases as G
8/3
. Fig. 9(b) presents the effect of the
saturation temperature on the pressure gradient. Saturation
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45
P
r
e
s
s
u
r
e

g
r
a
d
i
e
n
t

i
n

r
e
t
u
r
n

b
e
n
d
s

[
k
P
a
/
m
]
Vapor quality []
R410A
D = 3.25 mm
2R/D = 3.91
G = 400 kg/m
2
s
T
sat
= 25 C
Experimental data of Chen et al.
Chisholm & Idelshik
Chen et al.
Domanski & Hermes
Proposed
MullerSteinhagen & Heck (Straight tubes)
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1
0
5
10
15
P
r
e
s
s
u
r
e

g
r
a
d
i
e
n
t

i
n

r
e
t
u
r
n

b
e
n
d
s

[
k
P
a
/
m
]
Vapor quality []
R134a
D = 5.07 mm
2R/D = 5.18
G = 200 kg/m
2
s
T
sat
= 25 C
a
b
Chisholm & Idelshik
Chen et al.
Domanski & Hermes
Proposed
MullerSteinhagen & Heck (Straight tubes)
Experimental data of Chen et al.
Data by Chen et al. (2008).
Data by Chen et al. (2004).
Fig. 8 Pressuregradient inreturnbends as afunctionof the
vapor quality using the experimental data by Chen et al.
(2004, 2008) compared to different prediction methods.
0 500 1000 1500 2000
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
140
160
180
200

S
i
n
g
u
l
a
r

p
r
e
s
s
u
r
e

g
r
a
d
i
e
n
t

[
k
P
a
/
m
]
Mass velocity [kg/m
2
s]


Proposed correlation
D = 8 mm
2R/D =5
x = 0.3
T
sat
= 10 C
R134a
R410A
10 0 10 20 30 40
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
S
i
n
g
u
l
a
r

p
r
e
s
s
u
r
e

g
r
a
d
i
e
n
t


[
k
P
a
/
m
]
Saturation temperature [C]

Proposed correlation
D = 8 mm
2R/D = 5
G = 500 kg/m
2
s
x= 0.3
R134a
R410A
a
b
Fig. 9 Singular pressure gradient as a function of the mass
velocity and the saturation temperature for R-134a and
R-410A. (a) Singular pressure gradient as a function of the
mass velocity. (b) Singular pressure gradient as a function
of the saturation temperature.
i nt e r na t i o na l j our na l of r e f r i g e r a t i on 3 2 ( 2 0 0 9 ) 1 7 7 6 1 7 8 3 1782
conditionsact onthedensities. Whenthetemperatureincreases,
the vapor density increases, the vapor velocity decreases and as
a consequence the pressure gradient decreases.
5. Conclusions
In this paper, 325 pressure drop data points measured in
return bends have been collected from the literature. The
database includes 3 different uids (R-12, R-134a and R-410A)
from two laboratories and provides a large variation of
geometries and conditions: the tube diameter varies from 3.25
to 8 mm for horizontal and vertical arrangements, the curva-
ture ratios from 3.175 to 8.15, the mass velocity ranges from
150 to 900 kg/m
2
s and the vapor quality from 0.0095 to 0.9367.
The saturation temperature varies from 10 to 39

C. Based on
this database, a new method has been proposed for predicting
the pressure gradient in returnbends. The idea was to sumthe
frictional pressure gradient that would be obtained in straight
tubes (predicted by Mu ller-Steinhagen and Heck (1986) corre-
lation) and the singular pressure gradient (present equation).
The present correlation is based on the centrifugal force
acting on the vapor and the liquid phases. This equation is
independent of the diameter and the transport properties
since only the curvature effect is taken into account. In
addition, the proposed correlation includes only two empirical
constants and exhibits the correct physical limits, i.e. when
the curvature ratio tends toward innity, the pressure
gradient due to the return bends tends toward that of the
straight tubes. Furthermore, when the curvature ratio tends
toward zero, the pressure gradient tends toward innity.
r e f e r e n c e s
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correlations of frictional single-phase and two-phase pressure
drops of R-410A ow in small U-type return bends. Exp.
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i nt e r na t i o na l j o ur na l o f r e f r i g e r a t i o n 3 2 ( 2 0 0 9 ) 1 7 7 6 1 7 8 3 1783