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Proceedings of IMECE03

2003 ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress


Washington, D.C., November 1521, 2003
Proceedings of IMECE03
2003 ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress & Exposition
IMECE2003-41306
IMECE2003-41306

OSCILLATORY HEAT TRANSFER AT THE HEAT EXCHANGERS


OF THE THERMOACOUSTIC REFRIGERATION SYSTEM
By

Emmanuel C. Nsofor, and Xudong Wang


Department of Mechanical Engineering and Energy Processes
Southern Illinois University
Carbondale, IL 62901

ABSTRACT Dr drive Ratio, (%)


f frequency of oscillation, (Hz)
Thermoacoustic refrigeration systems utilize h heat transfer coefficient, (W/m2 K)
high intensity sound waves and the k thermal conductivity, (W / m K)
interactions with solid boundaries to create L length (m)
temperature gradient, heat pumping and M Mach number
consequent cooling. In this study, a P perimeter (m)
thermoacoustic refrigeration system was Re Reynolds number (dimensionless)
designed and constructed. The stack was s surface area (m2)
fabricated from a thermoplastic material to T temperature, (K)
reduce conduction in the direction opposite Tb base temperature of the fin, (K)
to heat pumping. The direction of the stack T gas free stream or time averaged
plates perpendicular to the thickness was temperature, (K)
lined with an aluminum material to increase x axial coordinate, (dimensionless)
the heat transfer in this direction. A study y axial coordinate, (dimensionless)
on the oscillatory flow heat transfer at the change
heat exchangers was performed using k thermal penetration depth, (m)
helium as the working gas. Some important wavelength, (m)
factors that influence the heat transfer temperature (K)
coefficient in oscillatory fluid flow and
density, (kg/m3)
relations to stack fabrication were identified.
angular frequency, (2f)
NOMENCLATURE
INTRODUCTION
cp specific heat at constant pressure,
A number of thermoacoustic systems have
(J/kg K)
been designed, constructed and reported.
D diameter, (m)

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Also, some heat transfer studies in the amplitude of the oscillating velocity is
system have been reported. In a greater than the time-mean flow. This is
comprehensive article, Swift [1] different from a pulsating flow in which the
documented a review and in-depth flow direction never reverses and the
description of thermoacoustic physics. amplitude of the oscillating velocity is less
Previous work related to this study includes than the time-mean flow velocity. Iwabuchi
that by Adeff and Hoffler [2] on the design and Kanzaka [10] carried out experiments to
and construction of a solar-powered investigate the heat transfer on a
thermoacoustically driven thermoacoustic reciprocating flow in a set-up that was
refrigerator. Herman and Wetzel [3, 4] designed to obtain data for a particular
developed a thermoacoustic model, reported prototype engine and presented the heat
on the design optimization of the models transfer data in terms of piston speed, mean
and recommended areas for more research. pressure and phase difference between the
Minner et al. [5] evaluated the performance opposing pistons.
of a thermoacoustic refrigerator and found
that the choice of working fluid and the heat Mozurkewich [11] developed a one-
exchanger configuration were critical design dimensional model for transverse heat
factors affecting the performance of the transfer in parallel thermoacoustic pores,
system. A report on an experimental study and Aniruddha et al [12] reported that the
carried out by Bai et al. [6] discussed the optimization of heat exchanger size and
effect of the working fluid, resonator length, location relating to the stack could improve
charging pressure and heating temperature the performance of the stack significantly.
on the performance of the thermoacoustic Mozurkewich [13] tested three heat
prime mover. For the determination of the exchanger configurations located at the hot
appropriate working gas for use in the end of a thermoacoustic stack and showed
system, Belcher et al [7] studied working that the time-average steady-flow equivalent
gases suitable for use in thermoacoustic approximation could be applied in the
systems and stated that the best working analysis of thermoacoustic heat exchangers,
gases for thermoacoustic refrigeration which consist of transversely oriented tubes.
should have high ratios of specific heats and Ishikawa and Hobson [14] presented an
low Prandtl numbers. Tijani et al [8, 9], expression for optimum dimensionless heat
designed, constructed and tested a exchanger area, and developed a design
thermoacoustic refrigerator and described method to obtain the optimum surface area
some design procedures, selection of of thermoacoustic heat exchangers.
parameters, components optimization and
fabrication techniques. In this study, a thermoacoustic refrigeration
system was designed and constructed with
Regarding the oscillatory flow around the the experimental accessories and data
heat exchangers, of the thermoacoustic acquisition system using information from
system, it should be noted that although an published reports. The stack was fabricated
oscillatory flow can either be a reciprocating from a thermoplastic material to reduce
flow or a pulsating flow, the flow on the conduction in the direction opposite to heat
outside of the heat exchangers of the pumping. The direction of the stack plates
thermoacoustic refrigeration system is a perpendicular to the thickness was lined
reciprocating flow. In this type of flow, the with an aluminum material to increase the
direction reverses periodically and the heat transfer in this direction. A study on

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the oscillatory flow heat transfer at the heat
exchangers was performed. Results from Dynamic Pr essure Amplitude
the study identified some important Dr = (1)
Mean Pr essure
parameters that influence oscillatory fluid
flow heat transfer rate.
of 0.02 was selected to satisfy M < 0.1 and
SUMMARY OF THE DESIGN AND Re < 500. Thermal penetration depth k
CONSTRUCTION was calculated using the equation
2k
Figure 1 shows a schematic of the system. k = (2)
The major components are the acoustic c p
driver, the resonator, a stack, the heat
exchangers and the working gas. The An optimized / 4 length, resonator tube,
schematic of the experimental setup is introduced by Hofler [15], was adopted for
shown in figure 3. The auxiliary this study, but a cone-shaped buffer was
components include the audio frequency substituted for the sphere in order to produce
generator, power amplifier, pressure
transducers and gauges, thermocouples, an Table 1. Design and operating
oscilloscope and the data acquisition system. parameters and properties under
operating conditions.
Some of the design and operating
parameters and properties are listed in Table PROPERTY OR VALUE
1. The desired cooling power, the PARAMETER
temperature difference between the hot heat Mean Pressure 5.06625 bar
exchanger and the cold heat exchanger, and Cooling Power 5W
the operating frequency of the system were Gas Thermal 0.146 W/m K
some of the critical items selected for the Conductivity
design. Gas Density 0.8845 kg/m3
Speed of sound in gas 978.1 m/s
Gas Specific heat (cp) 5193 J/kg K
Gas Dynamic 188 x 10-7 N s/m2
Viscosity
Gas Prandtl number 0.667
Gas Thermal 3.19 x 10-5 m2/s
Diffusivity
Diameter of the 0.0318 m
smaller portion of the
resonator tube
Figure 1 Schematic of the Diameter of the larger 0.0589 m
Thermoacoustic Refrigeration System. portion of the
resonator tube
The acoustic Mach number M was limited Stack length 0.0845 m
to M 0.1 to eliminate nonlinear effects [1] Length of the large 0.13127 m
and the Reynolds number was also limited portion (l)
to less than 500 to avoid turbulence [8]. The Length of the cold 0.34 m
drive ratio, defined as portion

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an open-end condition [8]. Helium was fin. To obtain an expression for the heat
selected as the working gas for the design. transfer coefficient h along the plate, a
The choice was influenced by the study, number of assumptions were introduced. It
Belcher et al [7], which made is assumed that the fin has the same fin base
recommendations on the suitability of temperature Tb at both ends due to the
working gases used in thermoacoustic symmetric geometry of the heat exchanger.
refrigeration systems. The acoustic driver The working gas is assumed to be an ideal
was selected to provide the required total gas. A small part of the fin, shown shaded
acoustic power within a wide range of in figure (b) was used as the control volume
frequency and drive ratios. The resonator for the analysis. Equation (3) gives the
was constructed from aluminum tubing but energy balance for the control volume
with plastic tubing at the inner diameter
portion to reduce heat loss by conduction.
dT dT
The stack was fabricated from a ks + hPdx(T T ) = ks (3)
thermoplastic material to reduce conduction dx x dx x + x

in the direction opposite to heat pumping.


The direction of the stack plates
perpendicular to the thickness was lined
with an aluminum material to increase the
heat transfer in this direction. The heat
exchangers consist of copper fins soldered to
aluminum flange. From the inlet and outlet
temperatures of flowing water, the heat
added to or removed from the heat
exchangers was calculated. Data acquisition
was through input signals from
thermocouples and pressure transducers fed
to a data acquisition system connected to a
personal computer.

HEAT TRANSFER AT THE HEAT


EXCHANGERS

Figure 2 shows the geometry of the heat Figure 2 Schematic of the Heat Transfer
exchanger and a single plate of the heat from the Fin of the Hot Heat Exchanger.
exchanger. Figure (a) shows the overall
arrangement of the fins and geometry of the Equation (3) can be rearranged to give
heat exchanger, (b) shows a single fin of the d 2
heat exchanger and (c) illustrates the control 2
m 2 = 0 (4)
dx
volume for the analysis. The width of a hP
single fin is 6.6 mm and the thickness is where = T ( x ) T and m 2 =
0.15 mm. The oscillating gas flow with ks
The solution of equation (4) is
time-averaged temperature T flows across
the fins in the x direction. The fin has a
= C1e mx + C 2e mx (5)
temperature distribution T(x) along the fin,
where x is the distance from the base of the

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where C1 and C2 are constants which are An Endevco model 8510C-100 pressure
determined by the boundary conditions. The transducer was used to measure the dynamic
constants C1 and C2 were obtained as: pressure. The pressure transducer was
mounted on the aluminum flange by
threading and O-ring sealing. The data
b (1 e mL )
C1 = (6)
e mL e mL

b (e mL 1)
C2 = (7)
e mL e mL

where b = Tb T

The temperature distribution T(x) was thus


obtained as:
Figure 3 Schematic of the experimental
hP

hP
e
x x
Tb T ks
e ks
+ (8) facility.
T ( x ) = T +
hP

hP
hP
(L x)
hP
(L x)
e
L L
e ks
e ks

ks
e ks
acquisition consisted of a PCI-773-T board
with 16 differential analog inputs and Wave
Except the heat transfer coefficient (h), all View for windows software. The
the variables in equation (8) can be thermocouples were mounted on the
determined or measured directly from terminal panel. An acrylic block Omega
experiments. Thus h can be obtained using flow meter was used to measure the flow
experimental results. rate of water through the heat exchangers.
EXPERIMENTAL SETUP Figure 4 shows the location of the
thermocouples inside the system. Three
The experimental facility, which includes
the gas charging system, the test section,
instruments, and the data acquisition system,
was set up as shown in figure 3. The
working gas was charged and discharged
through the gas charging system. The
charging system was connected to a vacuum
pump and a pressurized working gas tank
with appropriate valves so that each of them
can be used as desired. The test section can
be operated under various working
conditions that include different pressures
and operating frequencies. Instruments Figure 4. Location of the thermocouples
include thermocouples, pressure transducers, inside the system.
oscilloscope and flow meters. The data
acquisition system receives signals from the thermocouples were installed at the hot heat
thermocouples and the pressure transducers. exchanger. One was mounted at the base of
the fin (shown in the diagram as location

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No. 5) to measure base temperature Tb . The appears to be a parabolic relationship
second thermocouple which measures T(x) between h and f at constant mean pressure.
is mounted at a variable point x, a specific The heat transfer coefficient h increases with
distance x from the base of the fin (shown f at constant mean pressure until h reaches a
in the diagram at this point as location No. maximum value at some value of f before it
6). The third thermocouple, (located in the starts to decrease. This indicates that there
gas flow away from the fin) measures T . is a critical value of frequency for a given
mean pressure outside of which the heat
A total of ten thermocouples were used to
transfer coefficient will not increase. This
collect temperatures at different locations in
maximum value of f is the resonant
the system. All the thermocouples are
frequency and results show that it also
Omega Type T. The thermocouples could
increases with mean pressure. The heat
measure temperatures in the range of 200
transfer drops significantly if the
C to 350 C. The standard error for the
thermoacoustic refrigerator does not operate
thermocouples is 0.75%, if the temperature
at the resonance frequency.
is above 0 C and 1.5% if the temperature is
below 0 C.
The acoustic heat transfer coefficient for the
system increases with increasing mean
With the measurements of Tb , T(x) and T pressure and operating frequency up to the
the convection heat transfer coefficient h
could be determined by using equation (8).
180
Two thermocouples were installed at both
ends of the stack to measure the 160
heat transfer coefficient (W/sq-m-K)

temperatures occurring at both ends of the 140


stack while one thermocouple was located in 120
the middle of the stack. Location of this
2 bar
thermocouple is variable. The temperature 100
3 bar
of the acoustic driver was monitored by one 80 4 bar
thermocouple mounted at the surface of the 60
driver. Two thermocouples were used to
40
measure the inlet and outlet temperatures of
the cooling water. 20

0
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION 200 250 300 350 400 450 500
frequency (Hz)

The model developed was used to study the


factors affecting the heat transfer at different
operating conditions. The expression from Figure 5. Heat transfer coefficient h
which the heat transfer coefficient (h) was versus frequency at different operating
determined is given by equation (8). Figure pressures.
5 shows the relationship between the heat
transfer coefficient, the mean pressure and critical value of frequency (or resonant
the operating frequency. The experimental frequency). Thus higher operating pressures
results for h versus frequency (f) for at critical frequency are desired for the
different operating pressures are shown in system. However, it is to be noted that the
the figure. The results show that within the thermal penetration depth depends on the
limits of the experimental studies, there thermophysical properties of the working

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gas and the operating frequency. Increase in Society of America, 84, No.4, pp. 1145
the mean pressure or the operating - 1180.
frequency results in decreasing the thermal
penetration depth, which determines the 2. Adeff, J. A., and Hofler, T. J., 2000
spacing of the stack. It is difficult to Design and construction of a solar-
fabricate a stack with very small plate powered, thermoacoustically driven,
spacing. Therefore, a compromise between thermoacoustic refrigerator, Journal
heat transfer coefficient at the heat of the Acoustical Society of America,
exchangers and stack fabrication has to be 107, No. 6, pp. L37 L42.
considered in the design, fabrication,
operation and performance of the 3. Herman, C and Wetzel, M, 1995,
thermoacoustic refrigerating system. Design of a thermoacoustic
refrigerator- a case study, AES
CONCLUSIONS Publication, 35 pp. 195-203.

In this study, a thermoacoustic refrigeration 4. Herman, C and Wetzel, M, 1996,


system was designed and constructed with Parameter spaces and design
the experimental accessories and the data optimization of thermoacoustic
acquisition system. The major components refrigerators, AES Publication,
of the system are the electroacoustic driver, proceeding of 1996 ASME, 36 pp.
the resonator, a stack, the heat exchangers 355-363.
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