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CHE 3222 Unit Operations Lab I

Film and Drop Condensation

Report Deliverables
Report format followed as described in the syllabus
Individual names/Net IDs listed on EACH PAGE of a section for which a particular
is individually responsible for writing (DONT MAKE US GUESS WHO WROTE A
header of the section you write.
Use a MINIMUM of 4 literature citations effectively in your report. EVERY TEAM
Follow the general comments about troubleshooting lab reports (provided in the
syllabus) before submitting
Present clearly labeled figures showing your experimental data (e.g. condensate
rate as a function of cooling water flow rate) AND use the theory presented in this
handout to process your experimental data in a variety of ways to analyze the
performance of this apparatus and to compare drop-wise and film condensation.

The BIG PICTURE you are to provide is an energy balance around the condensation
steam chest to try and determine if there is any discernable difference between the film
condensation and the drop-wise condensation. It is up to you to determine what stream
flow rates, temperatures, etc. are to be measured to conduct this energy balance. Your
report grade will depend, in part, on the thoroughness with which you conduct this energy
balance. See the questions at the end of this document for guidance on the calculations
you are to perform for this experiment.
Condensation is an important physical phenomenon that comes into play in numerous
industrial processes. In some instances, the entire objective is to CAUSE condensation
(say to separate lower boiling components in a complex chemical mixture from higher
boiling components by partially condensing the vaporized streamwhich you will
student in depth in your Separations course). When condensate forms on a surface
through which heat transfer is desired (say the tube bundle in a shell and tube heat
exchanger) an additional resistance to heat
transfer is formed by the condensing liquid.
So, for example, if the goal is to get heat
THROUGH the pipe wall from one vapor to
another, any formation of condensate would
slow down this rate of heat transfer because
the liquid would absorb heat and resist the
rate of heat transfer.

The goal of this experiment is to study two

different forms of condensation: film
condensation (which is occurring on the black
painted diameter copper pipe in your
experimental apparatus) and drop-wise
condensation (which is formed on the
chrome-plated diameter copper pipe in
the steam chest). The image at right, while it
shows multiple pipes (and we have only a
single pipe for each type of condensation), illustrates the two mechanisms of
condensationdropwise in (a) and film in (b). Images (c) through (f) are beyond the
scope of this discussion.

In this study you will determine the following:

The steady-state rate of heat gain by each of the two copper pipes (black
and chrome) when water is flowing through them AT THE SAME FLOW
RATE. Keeping the same flow rate for each pipe is critical so that you can
compare the rates of heat transfer for each.
The steady-state condensate rate for each type of condensation (film
condensation on the black pipe and drop-wise condensation on the
chrome pipe).
Calculate the convective heat transfer coefficients for both the inside and
outside of the condensing tubes. Details of how all of these
measurements and calculations are to be performed are contained in this

. You have the following equipment for conducting the experiment:

A live steam chest where open steam is fed directly into the chamber,
filling it to maintain a constant steam bulk fluid temperature
A flow meter and valve arrangement through which water (tap water from
the municipal water system) is fed through either the black painted or
chrome plated tubes. NOTE: You MUST send the total water flow
either through the black or chrome tube (one at a time)because
that flow rate is what is indicated on the flow rotameter. Otherwise,
you would have no way to readily determine the flow in each
individual tube. Also, the rates of heat transfer are to be calculated
for steady-state operation of ONLY ONE CONDENSATION TYPE (i.e.
film versus drop-wise) AT A TIME.


The national Chemical Safety Board has strongly emphasized increasing safety
awareness and instruction across chemical engineering and chemistry degree programs
throughout the country. In response to this we are reinforcing our longstanding safety
policies with new activities designed to increase your awareness and conduct of safe
practices during all Unit Operations laboratory activities. More details are presented
elsewhere laboratory documentation, but a few rules for working in the Unit Operations
laboratory are emphasized here:
Upon entering the laboratory, you are to put on safety glasses. They are to be
worn throughout your participation in laboratory experiments.
You MUST wear long pants and closed-toed shoes (you can use a locker,
providing your own lock). Locks will be removed (by cutting if necessary) at the
end of the semester to allow the juniors access for the spring lab section.
Absolutely NO food or drink in the lab.

The purpose of this laboratory experiment is to investigate heat transfer in a system
experiencing film or drop condensation. The determination of individual heat transfer
coefficients and rates of heat transfer as a function of fluid flow rates, and tube
characteristics is an expected outcome.

Equipment Description
The Film and Drop Condensation experiment consists of a steam chest into which
saturated steam is passed from an adjacent boiler. Two copper tubes (one with a black
finish and one with a chrome plating) pass through the steam chest. Cool water is passed
through these tubes (one at a time) to evaluate the heat transfer from each one (under
similar operating conditions of steam and cooling water flow). See figure below.

Thermocouples are at critical points in the system to allow temperature measurement of

various steams. A junction box for all thermocouples allows selection of various points
throughout the system (points in the system corresponding to the thermocouples have
been written on the experimental apparatus). Water flow may also be obtained from a
The condensate flow rate (from the steam condensing on either the flat black or chrome-
plated tube) must be measured by collecting the condensate dripping from the outlet pipe.
The simplest way to do this is to get a graduated beaker of 1 liter volume (or more) and
allow the condensate to collect over a measured time period (you can use your stopwatch
function on your cell phone).

QUESTIONS (Content of the answers to these are to be incorporated into the

written report).

Answer the following questions in the context of your laboratory report. The
questions below can serve as excellent feedstock for writing your lab report. HINT:
The material for answering these questions comes directly from your heat transfer
textbook. Though there are numerous online references available, as well. The
answers to these questions also provide excellent material for use in your written

1. Describe the physical mechanism that leads to condensation.

2. Define the difference between drop-wise and film condensation. What conditions
can lead to each?

3. Present the energy balance equation (i.e. model) that appropriately describes the
general condition of heat transfer through a cylindrical tube undergoing
4. Discuss how differences in flow regime affect this model (presented in question 3)
(i.e. laminar v. turbulent flow of the condensate on the outside of the pipe (not the
inside!)). How will you practically determine which flow regime you are in?

5. How will you practically determine the condensation rate? The condensation
phenomenon (i.e. drop-wise or film)? Hint: consider visual inspection for
determining the actual type of condensation occurring.

6. Present a suitable model for determining the individual heat transfer coefficient for
film condensation and drop-wise condensation in a cylindrical, horizontal tube and
define each term.

7. Present raw data with a sample calculation for the individual heat transfer
coefficient, the overall rate of heat transfer and the condensation rate. BE SURE

8. Discuss the determination of the mass flow rate by the heat transfer rate (q) divided
by the modified latent heat of vaporization (see Incropera and DeWitt). Why is this
valid for our system?

9. Discuss why we can use q=mCpT to determine the overall rate of heat transfer
for a given tube (using the cold water flow rate and fluid properties for this
calculation)? Should it be equal to the heat transfer rate by the absorbing
condensate? Why or why not?

10. Your report should include calculated values for

a. Individual heat transfer coefficients at your different flow conditions

for EACH pipe
b. The rate of heat transfer (q=mCpT) for both tubes based on the cold
water flowing through the tubes.
c. The rate of heat transfer from each tube based on the external
condensation conditions (and appropriately chosen model)
d. A thorough discussion comparing and contrasting these calculated
parameters and what they mean regarding the performance of your
Experimental Process/Procedures

1. Prior to the lab period, the electric boiler will be started to produce approximately
20-30 psig steam supply for this apparatus.

2. Steam entering the steam chest should be between 0-10 psig and visibly
condensing on the chrome and black copper tubes in the chest.

3. The cool water supply valve (just upstream from the Rotameter) is VERY tight.
The lab instructor will provide directions on how to adjust this valve.

4. Orange handled valves control cool water into and out of the steam chest. Select
either the black or chrome tube on which to take your first measurements and open
both the inlet and outlet valves.

5. Note ALL thermocouple positions and set up a table in Excel to record data similar
to what is shown below: IMPORTANT: you will note that we only have a
thermocouple soldered to the surface of the black tube. However, the film
condensation model from your heat transfer textbook (e.g. Incropera and DeWitt)
is applicable to the black tube (not the chrome tube which is experiencing drop-
wise condensation). Therefore this surface temperature will be taken only when
you have cold water flowing through the black tube.

6. Your experimental data is relatively simple to obtain. The boiler will be turned on
by the lab teaching team prior to the start of the days experiments so you should
not have to be concerned with it throughout the experiment. Essentially, you will
adjust the cold water flow with the inlet valve (as instructed). You record the water
flow rate by measuring at the top of the flow in the rotameter.

7. Next, you will select EITHER the black or chrome pipe and open both the inlet and
exit valves to your chosen pipe. You MUST make sure the valves are closed to
the other pipe. Immediately begin monitoring the temperatures at the inlet and
outlet of this pipe. When they are unchanging you are at a thermal steady-state.
ONLY THEN are you to place a beaker or graduated cylinder under the
condensate outlet and measure the condensate flow rate for 2-5 minutes duration
(of course, dividing the volume obtained by the time interval to get the condensate
flow rate). Record ALL temperature readings (EXCEPT those for the water inlet
and outlet of the pipe NOT being used.

8. Once you have obtained the condensate flow rate, empty the beaker and set aside
while you adjust the valves to direct THE SAME WATER FLOW RATE through the
other pipe. Repeat the process of recording the flow rate (just to make sure it is
the same as originally set) and then recording the temperatures of the inlet and
outlet water in your operating pipe (at steady state) along with the other temps (i.e.
steam chest temp, and, if needed, the surface temperature reading).
9. Adjust your water flow to a new setting and repeat the entire experiment for both
the flat-black pipe and the chrome-plated pipe.

10. Repeat for a third water flow rate.

One precaution to take throughout your experiment is to note the steam pressure
gage on the blue boiler. The boiler is located at the end of the bay in which this
experiment is located. The steam pressure should be reading approximately 30
psig. IF NOT, please notify Dr. Elmore IMMEDIATELY. There is a possibility that
the pressure could drop suddenly. This is not a cause for alarm but we DO need
to know when this occurs as it will affect your experimental data. MOST
IMPORTANTLY is to note if any pressure rise above 30 psig occurs. It is very
unlikely (and not observed EVER) but you should ALWAYS monitor the operation
of a boiler when working in the vicinity.

Tube Cold water T Tcold Tcold Tsurface (note: we only have a

Type rate (gpm) (or Tsat of steam water in water out surface temp on the black tube)
entering chest)
Theoretical Background

Conduction through the pipe wall

The diagram at right

shows a schematic for one
aspect of our process
though the direction of
heat flow is from the
outside to the inside
(opposite of that shown).
Cold fluid (water from the
municipal water supply)
flows through the pipe in
the axial direction (i.e.
along the length of either
the flat black painted
copper pipe of the chrome-
plated copper pipe). The
hot fluid (steam fed live
to the steam chest) flowing by forced convectionit is generally stagnant though you
might be able to periodically observe natural convection currents in the steam chest.
However, with the cool water in the tube, the steam will condense on the outer surface of
the tube (either forming a film over the flat-black copper pipe or forming droplets on the
outer surface of the chrome-plated pipe). The focus of our experiment is on the steady-
state convective heat transfer rate along the axial length of the pipe and the
simultaneous steady-state condensation rate rate of steam from either of the outer pipe
walls. You see in the lower right hand corner of our diagram a heat transfer circuit. As
it turns out, the flow of heat can be shown as analogous to the flow of electricity. The
squiggly lines represent resistance. In electricity, those squiggles would represent
electrical resistors. In heat transfer, they represent resistance to heat flow. The first
resistance between the temperatures T,1 (which is the bulk fluid temperature of the
heated air in the pipe) and Ts1 (which is the inner pipe surface temperature) is known as
the film resistance. Similar to our discussion in fluids, as the velocity profile of liquid
flowing in a pipe reaches zero at the inner pipe wall, the rate of heat transfer is resisted
by that film of zero velocity fluid on the inner pipe wall. This is described by a heat
transfer resistance term
(Eq 1)

Determination of the heat transfer coefficient (h1) is a big part of your study in our heat
transfer lecture course. It will be addressed below in the Convective Heat Transfer

The heat from the steam is first transferred through a condensate film forming on the
outside of the pipe. (We will present a models for describing this later). Then, heat
transfers from the film through the pipe wall. Once again, just to be clear, the heat is
flowing in the direction from the steam ON THE OUTSIDE of the pipe through the
pipe wall TO THE WATER ON THE INSIDE. I repeat this because it is flowing in the
opposite direction to that shown in the diagram (but the diagram was handy for
illustrating the concepts discussed herein). The heat is then transferred from the
inner stagnant film of liquid on the inner pipe wall into the build fluid flowing through the
pipe. An inside convective heat transfer coefficient (h1) can be calculated from a
relationship similar to what was shown above in Equation 1.

For heat transfer through the pipe wall (by conduction), the heat transfer rate may be
described by

This means that the heat transfer rate in the radial direction (through the pipe wall) is
equivalent to the thermal conductivity (typical units of Watts/meter-Kelvin) multiplied by
the area perpindicular to the direction of heat flow through which the heat is being
transferred multiplied by the temperature differential (dT) across the pipe wall (dr).
Expressing that area in cylindrical coordinates as 2rL, we can actually divide the rate of
heat transfer by this area (since there is no actual length of pipe when we are calculating
the radial conduction through a single slice of the pipe, as we are doing in this
experiment). This heat flux would then look like


Note that the heat flux is the rate of heat transfer per unit area. Again, there is no actual
area perpendicular to the direction of heat flow when we are talking about a point of heat
transfer, so this conveniently incorporates area into the heat rate term. The minus sign
on the right hand side of the equation indicates that we are calculating heat loss with dT
being positive but dr being negative (as you move from the inner pipe to outer pipe radius,
that term is negative). Thus you get a positive heat flux value.

Assuming steady-state conditions (meaning the heat flux term is constant), we can
separate the variables and integrate for the boundary conditions shown below

, ,

, ,
It is left to you to perform this simple integration, into which you will plug your experimental
data to calculate the heat flux from experimental data obtained at each of the two
individual stations.
Convective Heat Loss in the Axial Direction

As we have already mentioned above, convective heat transfer occurs in a moving fluid
(as natural or forced convection currents are introduced with the fluid movement). An
important parameter for characterizing this heat convection is the heat transfer coefficient
(h). This was presented earlier for the convection inside the pipe (shown in our diagram)

The complex nature of fluid movement in a system means that, prior to advanced
computational fluid dynamics, many systems were studied and characterized empirically
(i.e. by taking large amounts of experimental data and developing a mathematical
empirical models based upon these observations). Such an emprical model for
calculating the convective heat transfer coefficient is the Dittus-Boelter equation

Remember, from fluids, the Reynolds number is a dimensionless number which describes
the flow characteristics (i.e. laminar, turbulent, or transition). Just to refresh your memory,
the Reynolds number is defined as

Where = the fluid density (you will have to used the ideal gas law and the
molar mass of air to get this in the proper units)

V= the average water velocity (determined by using your volumetric flow

rate (obtained from the water rotameter and the inside pipe diameter of
the copper pipeboth used in the continuity equation)

D= the inside pipe diameter

= the viscosity of water (at the temperature of your fluid)

DONT FORGET! Each of these terms MUST be in units allowing everything to cancel.

Similarly, the Prandtl number (Pr) is a dimensionless number expressing the ratio of
momentum diffusivity to thermal diffusivity.
In heat transfer, the Prandtl number describes the relative thickness of the momentum
boundary layer (that film where the velocity of the moving fluid nears zero) and the
thermal boundary layer (a similar thermal film)you will discuss these in detail in your
heat transfer lecture.

When the Prandtl number is small in magnitude, it indicates that, in comparison to the
velocity, the rate of heat diffusion is much larger. When the Prandtl number is large in
magnitude, the opposite is true (i.e. heat diffusion is smaller in comparison to the velocity).
For example, in liquid metals, which we know to be highly thermally conductive, the
thermal boundary layer thickness is much larger than the velocity boundary layer.

Typical values for the Prandtl number are (from our ever-reliable Wikipedia!):

around 0.015 for mercury

around 0.16-0.7 for mixtures of noble gases or noble gases with hydrogen
around 0.7-0.8 for air and many other gases,
between 4 and 5 for R-12 refrigerant
around 7 for water (At 20 degrees Celsius)
13.4 and 7.2 for seawater (At 0 degrees Celsius and 20 degrees
Celsius respectively)
between 100 and 40,000 for engine oil

You will calculate the Prandtl number for use in the Dittus-Boelter equation by looking up
specific heats (cp), viscosities () and thermal conductivities (k) for water at your average
temperatures (that is, the average between the copper tube inlet and outlet temperatures
in a given experimental run). These temperatures are obtained from thermocouple
readouts available on a meter affixed to the experimental apparatus.

In the Dittus-Boelter equation, we see that the heat transfer coefficient (hfc in the above
equation) is multiplied by the inside pipe diameter and divided by the fluid thermal
conductivity (already found for use in the Prandtl number calculation described). You will
need to manipulate this equation algebraically to give you the heat transfer coefficient as
shown below

. .

You will calculate a heat transfer coefficient for conditions in both the black and chrome
copper tubes, and for EACH set of experimental conditions and report in your Final
The Nusselt Number (Nufc in the Dittus-Boelter equation) is another dimensionless
parameter described by

The Nusselt number is the ratio of the convective to conductive heat transfer at a

A Nusselt number close to a value of 1.0 indicates near or at laminar flow in the system
and the relative effect of conduction would be near the same magnitude of convection
(which makes sense for the definition presented). A larger Nusselt number indicates that
a turbulent flow condition exists (and is therefore likely the controlling mechanism in the
overall rate of heat transfer). For the purposes of our discussion, NuL = Nufc.
Similarly h1 = hfc = h. I do want to note that, as described earlier, you can calculate
a heat transfer coefficient for the water flowing inside the pipe and one for the
steam condensing outside the pipe. The above use of the Dittus Boelter equation
is for calculating the heat transfer coefficient for the INSIDE conditions of water

Calculating the heat transfer coefficient for the Film Steam Condensation on the outside
of the pipe

Similar to the model developed above for calculating the heat transfer coefficient for the
water flowing in the pipe via the Dittus-Boelter equation, models (developed by Nusselt
and others) exist for calculating a heat transfer coefficient for the steam condensing on
the outside of the equation. As might be anticipated, the theoretical analysis for such a
phenomenon is very complex and is beyond the scope of this laboratory. However, we
can use the models easily.

An empirical model describing the heat transfer coefficient for laminar flow on the outside
of the pipe due to condensation is given by


hv = the heat transfer coefficient for steam vapor condensing
D = the tube outside diameter upon which condensate is forming
k = the thermal conductivity of the steam condensate (i.e. liquid water at the steam
= the density of the steam condensate (again liquid water at the steam temperature
Why? Because we are making the assumption that the saturated steam vapor and
liquid are in equilibrium and therefore at the same temperature)
g = the gravitational constant
= the viscosity of the steam condensate
= as defined below

= the mass flow rate of steam condensate (i.e. liquid water) leaving the steam chest
remember you are going to measure that by putting a graduated cylinder or beaker under
that stream and capture a volume over a time interval (several minutes).

L = the length of the tube in the steam chest

Of course, to use the above empirical model for steam condensing on the outside of the
pipe under laminar flow conditions, you must know the Reynolds number. To calculate it
use the following equation


If this value of the Reynolds number is equal to or less than 2100, then you have laminar
flow conditions and you can calculate the thickness of the liquid film on the outside of the
pipe by

You must calculate the heat transfer coefficient and the Reynolds number for the film-
wise condensation on the black-painted copper pipe for EACH of three different flow
rates of water on the inside of the pipe. Presuming that the flow will be laminar (which
is expected), then calculate and report the thickness of the film formed.

As always, dont forget to be consistent with your units.

Calculating the heat transfer coefficient for the Dropwise Steam Condensation on the
outside of the pipe
Note: The procedure for this particular model is beyond the scope of this
experiment for the current semester. If you wish to examine the model, you may
study the handout provided on MyCourses for the Scott Film and Drop
Condensation Experimental Apparatus. However, we will NOT be calculating a heat
transfer coefficient for the drop-wise condensation on the outside of the chrome-
plated copper pipe.

Convective heat loss in the axial direction for the water flowing INSIDE the pipe.

The heat lost through the acrylic pipe walls due to conduction will result in heat loss of the
air moving along the pipe axis. We can calculate this heat loss between stations one and
two by using the bulk heat equation


q is the rate of heat transfer (typical English units of Btu/hr)

is the mass flow rate (typical English units of pounds mass per hour lbm/hr

Cp is the specific heat of air (the amount of energy, in the form of heat, to raise a
certain mass of your working fluid a degree in temperature. While specific heat is
a strong function of temperature, you can look up a value for air using the average
bulk fluid temperature between stations 1 and 2.

T is the change in temperature from the inlet to the outlet stream in oF (typically
outlet temp minus inlet temp).

You will need to calculate a value of q for each of your experimental runs to describe the
rate of heat transfer in the axial direction. Of course, to determine the heat flux, you would
divide by the cross-sectional area of the inside of the pipe perpendicular to the direction
of the Water flow inside the pipe.
Summary of calculations to perform:

1. Enter all of your raw experimental data in a clearly labeled Excel spreadsheet and
easily readable format. Using the bulk heat equation (q = mcpT) calculate the
heat gain by the water stream in ALL experimental runs (three experimental runs
for each of the two pipes).

2. Calculate the heat transfer coefficient for the inside of the pipe using the Dittus-
Boelter equation

3. Calculate the rate of heat transfer through the pipe wall using Fouriers law

4. Calculate the heat transfer coefficient for the Film Condensation only using the
model provided (check to see if the condensate is flowing in a laminar condition).

5. Calculate the thickness of the condensate film as described. Do this for all of your
experimental runs in the black-walled pipe.

6. Compare the rates of heat gain in the two pipes for each of your experimental runs

7. Place your temperature data for each run in a column format that allows you to
determine the averages and standard deviations for every data set. You can now
see why it is important to take the data precisely at the same water flow rate in
each tube (for a given experimental run) to allow you to make direct comparisons
of the temperature data.

8. One question we want to answer is whether or not the two forms of condensation
are statistically the same or significantly different. You will do this by performing a
Student t test in Excel on your data sets. A wonderfully helpful YouTube video
is provided at the link belowexplaining in straightforward terms how to do this.


Can you say anything definitive about any differences between the two forms of
condensate comparing either the heat gain by the water in the two different tubes
or by the heat transfer coefficients calculated by the Dittus-Boelter equation?

Discuss thoroughly in your Report.