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international journal of refrigeration 63 (2016) 113

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j o u r n a l h o m e p a g e : w w w. e l s e v i e r. c o m / l o c a t e / i j r e f r i g

Numerical model of a parallel flow minichannel

evaporator with new flow boiling heat transfer

Zhen Tian a, Lei Ma a, Bo Gu a,*, Lin Yang b, Fen Liu c

Institute of Refrigeration and Cryogenics, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, China
School of Mechanical Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, China
New Energy Vehicle Division, Shanghai Automotive Industry Cooperation, Shanghai 201804, China


Article history: In this paper, a distributed parameter (DP) numerical model with the new proposed flow
Received 29 July 2015 boiling heat transfer correlation was established for parallel flow minichannel (PFMC) evapo-
Received in revised form 27 October rator. DP model validation was made by comparing the measured values obtained on
2015 experimental studies, which were conducted under refrigerant mass flow rate range of 34.6
Accepted 28 October 2015 245.6 kg h1 and evaporation pressure of 200500 kPa. The effects of four different flow boiling
Available online 11 November 2015 heat transfer correlations on DP model performance were investigated. Results showed that
the new correlation predicted 99% of experimental data in 30% error bands. Moreover, the
Keywords: DP model with the new correlation yielded the mean absolute error (MAE) of 1.5%, 9.1%,
Distributed parameter 18.8%, 14.2% and 19.8% in prediction of cooling capacity, outlet air temperature, refriger-
Flow boiling heat transfer ant superheat, air side and refrigerant side pressure drop, respectively. The presented DP
New correlation model can be implemented to evaluate the performance of PFMC evaporator, and there-
Numerical model fore can save efforts on component and system design and optimization.
Parallel flow minichannel 2016 Elsevier Ltd and International Institute of Refrigeration. All rights reserved.

Modle numrique dun vaporateur mini canaux

coulement parallles avec une nouvelle corrlation du
transfert de chaleur par bullition en coulement
Mots cls : Paramtre distribu ; Transfert de chaleur par coulement en bullition ; Nouvelle corrlation ; Modle numrique ; Mini
canaux coulement parallle ; vaporateur

* Corresponding author. Institute of Refrigeration and Cryogenics, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, China. Tel.: +86 21 34206260;
Fax: +86 21 34206814.
E-mail address: gubo@sjtu.edu.cn (B. Gu).
0140-7007/ 2016 Elsevier Ltd and International Institute of Refrigeration. All rights reserved.
2 international journal of refrigeration 63 (2016) 113


A area, m2 Xtt LockhartMartinelli parameter

Bo boiling number S suppression factor
Co confinement number u velocity, ms1
cp specific heat capacity, Jkg1 K1 x refrigerant quality
Dh hydraulic diameter, mm heat transfer coefficient, Wm2 K1
d humidity, g kg1 thickness, mm
E enhancement factor f fin thickness, mm
Fd fin width, mm data value
Ff fluid-surface parameter angle, degree
Fh fin height, mm thermal conductivity, Wm1 K1
Fp fin pitch, mm viscosity, Pas
Fr Froude number moisture separation coefficient
f friction factor density, kg m3
G mass flux, kg m2 s1 surface tension, Nm1
g gravitational acceleration, ms2 two-phase multiplier
h specific enthalpy, kJ kg1 refrigerant state factor
i latent heat of evaporation, kJ kg1
j j factor Subscript
k liquid or vapor a air side
Ll louver length, mm ac acceleration
L element length, m cb convective boiling
Lp louver pitch, mm exp experimental
M mole mass, gmol1 fr friction
m mass flow rate, kg h1 in inlet
n data number liq liquid
Pr Prandtl number nb nucleate boiling
p pressure, kPa new new proposed
pc critical pressure, kPa out outlet
p pressure drop, Pa or kPa pre predicted
Q cooling capacity, W r refrigerant side
q heat flux, Wm2 sat saturated
Re Reynolds number sp single phase
Tl tube length, m spec specific
Tp tube pitch, m tp two-phase
t temperature, C vap vapor
We Weber number w tube wall

heat transfer at low qualities while the heat transfer process

1. Introduction is dominated by forced convection flow boiling at high quali-
ties, where one function is independent of another one.
Compared with conventional evaporators, parallel flow However, the flow mechanisms can coexist as refrigerant quality
minichannel (PFMC) evaporators with hydraulic diameter increases. Ong and Thome (2011) stated that the nucleate and
in 1 mm range attract much attention because of their convective boiling contributions can be superimposed by a very
superior thermal performance, compact structure, and reduc- complex mechanism. According to Bertsch et al. (2009b), flow
tion of refrigerant charge (Qi et al., 2009; Shao et al., 2010). boiling heat transfer coefficients increased with heat flux in-
Refrigerant heat transfer characteristics in high surface-to- crease and decreased with hydraulic diameter increase. The
volume ratio minichannels, especially for the two-phase flow increase of saturation pressure led to heat transfer increase
boiling region, are quite different from those in traditional (Saitoh et al., 2005). Saitoh et al. (2007) suggested that refrig-
channels (Jokar et al., 2006; Kandlikar, 2002; Thome et al., erant dry out initially occurred on the upper tube due to gravity
2004). effect.
During flow boiling process, the refrigerant quality in- Numerous correlations for flow boiling heat transfer pre-
creases, and flow boiling occurs until refrigerant reaches the diction have been proposed, which can be divided into four
superheated state. In general, the flow boiling heat transfer categories: superposition model, selection model, fitting model,
mechanism in minichannels is simplified as a combination of and phenomenological model (Bertsch et al., 2009a; Kaew-On
nucleate boiling and convective boiling. The nucleate boiling et al., 2011; Quibn et al., 2009; Saisorn et al., 2010; Wojtan et al.,
heat transfer is more prominent than convective flow boiling 2005; Zhang et al., 2004). As for the superposition model, flow
international journal of refrigeration 63 (2016) 113 3

boiling heat transfer is regarded as a sum of nucleate boiling conditioning system, it is necessary to develop the numerical
and convective boiling. In the selection model, the larger one model for PFMC evaporator with R134a as working fluid, which
between nucleate boiling and convective boiling contribu- would help save experimental energy and cost during the design
tions is adopted as heat transfer result. The fitting model is and optimization of automobile air conditioning system.
constituted by dimensionless parameters based on experi- In the present study, a DP model with the new proposed
mental data fitting. Moreover, the phenomenological model is flow boiling heat transfer correlation was established for PFMC
a local flow pattern oriented model, which considers the dry evaporator and 116 sets of experimental data were presented
angle based on different regimes. for DP model validation. Compared with three existing corre-
Accurate correlations for flow boiling heat transfer predic- lations, the new correlation showed optimum performance in
tion are the foundation for PFMC evaporator numerical flow boiling heat transfer prediction. The effects of flow boiling
modeling, which could help reduce the time associated with heat transfer correlations on DP model prediction perfor-
product design and development therefore leading to more cost- mance were evaluated. DP model with the new proposed
effective and energy efficient components and systems. Kim correlation could predict PFMC evaporator performance with
and Bullard (2001) developed a finite volume model for micro the highest precision. The MAEs of cooling capacity, outlet air
channel evaporator with CO2 as working fluid. Several corre- temperature, refrigerant superheat, air side pressure drop, and
lations for air side and refrigerant side were compared before refrigerant side pressure drop predictions were 1.5%, 9.1%, 18.8%,
selecting appropriate correlations, which indicated that the 14.2%, and 19.8%, respectively.
simulation results of refrigerant side pressure drop behavior
showed maximum relative error of 13.1%. Brix et al. (2010) pro-
posed a discretized steady-state model for PFMC evaporator
with CO2 as refrigerant. They found that the cooling capacity 2. PFMC evaporator and experimental setup
reduction was mainly caused by non-uniform airflow and
uneven refrigerant inlet quality. Zhao et al. (2012) developed 2.1. PFMC evaporator
a simulation model with the effectiveness-NTU method for
minichannel evaporator using R1234yf as working fluid. Results PFMC evaporators are generally constituted of parallel flow
indicated that new proposed correlations were required in order minichannel tubes, louvered fins, collection header, and allo-
to get high precision. Only existing empirical correlations cation header. Refrigerant flows through minichannel tubes in
were used in developed model for calculating heat transfer parallel with the same pass while in series from pass to pass.
coefficients. In order to predict evaporator performance, several The schematic of studied PFMC evaporator was illustrated in
studies have been conducted and applied successfully with dis- Fig. 1a, which was double-deck type with four flow passes and
tributed parameter (DP) model (Jia et al., 1995, 1999; Tso et al., each flow pass consisted of eight tubes. Detail structures of
2006). However, DP models for minichannel evaporator are minichannel and louvered fin were presented in Fig. 1b. The
limited in open literatures. Since minichannel evaporator with geometric parameters of PFMC evaporator were summarized
R134a as working fluid is commonly used in automobile air in Table 1.

(a) (b)

Fig. 1 (a) The schematic of PFMC evaporator; (b) detail structures of minichannel and louver fin.
4 international journal of refrigeration 63 (2016) 113

Table 1 Main geometric parameters of PFMC evaporator.

Parameters Values Parameters Values
Air flow area (m ) 0.44 Fin pitch (mm) 1.2
Air heat transfer area (m2) 3.86 Hydraulic diameter (mm) 0.8
Refrigerant area (m2) 0.23 Fin thickness (mm) 0.2
Core size (mm3) 200*220*32 Louver angle (degree) 27
Fin width (mm) 10 Number of tubes 32
Fin height (mm) 7 Flow pass arrangement 8-8-8-8
Tube wall thickness (mm) 0.2

2.2. Test system and test conditions Since PFMC evaporators were usually utilized in automo-
bile air conditioning system, the test conditions were arranged
The schematic of PFMC evaporator test bench was shown in by considering working conditions of automobile air condi-
Fig. 2. The experimental setup was composed of a vapor com- tioning system. Therefore, experimental parameters were set
pression refrigeration system, two air-handling units, a within the following range: evaporator air inlet temperature:
measurement system, a control unit, and a data acquisition 25, 30 and 35C; air inlet relative humidity: 50%; air inlet ve-
system (DAS). The tested PFMC evaporator using R134a as locity: 4 and 6 ms1. The system operating parameters were as
refrigerant was included in the refrigeration system, which was following: scroll compressor speed: 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000 and
mainly consisted of a scroll compressor, a parallel flow con- 6000 rpm; EEV opening: 250500 pulses (with 25 pulses as a
denser, and an electronic expansion valve (EEV). Scroll step); condenser air inlet velocity: 6 and 8 ms1; condenser air
compressor speed, EEV opening and fan speed were con- inlet temperature: 35, 38 and 43C.
trolled by the external controller in order to adjust refrigerant
mass flow rate, evaporating pressure, refrigerant quality, and
air velocity. Two air-handling units were used to maintain con- 2.3. Uncertainty analysis
denser chamber and evaporator chamber at required
Accuracies of measured parameters were shown in Table 2. After
temperature and humidity. Platinum resistance thermom-
achieving steady state, all parameters were recorded by the DAS
eters (PRTs) and type-T thermocouples were utilized to measure
for data processing, analysis, and storage. The criterion for
air and refrigerant temperature, respectively. Humidity sensors
judging a stable operating condition was assumed that the heat
were installed at airflow inlet and outlet. Refrigerant mass flow
transfer difference between refrigerant side (Qr) and air side
rate was metered by a Coriolis-effect flow meter mounted at
(Qa) was within 2% error bands. Equations for energy con-
the condenser exit. Pressure transducers were respectively in-
servation and balance were given in Eqs. (1)(3).
stalled at compressor outlet, PFMC evaporator inlet and outlet.
The air velocity passing through PFMC evaporator was varied
by controlling fan input voltage. Q r = mr (hr ,out hr ,in ) (1)

Fig. 2 PFMC evaporator test system.

international journal of refrigeration 63 (2016) 113 5

Table 2 Accuracy of experiment facilities.

Measured variables Facilities Range Accuracy
Air temperature (C) PRT sensor 0100 0.3C
Humidity (%) Humidity sensor 0100 1%
Air velocity (ms1) Blower with control unit 010 5%
Refrigerant temperature (C) Type T thermocouple 50 to 120 0.3C
Refrigerant pressure (kPa) Pressure transducer 02500 3.4 kpa
Refrigerant mass flow rate (g s1) Coriolis-effect flow meter 0 to 200 2%

Q a = ma (ha,in ha,out ) (2) Q r ,i = r ,i Lr ,i Ar ,spec (t win,i t r ,i ) (4)

2 (Q r Q a ) (Q r + Q a ) < 2% (3) w
Q w,i = Lw,i Aw,spec (t wout t win ) (5)
Based on the uncertainty calculation method proposed by
Moffat (1988), the measurement uncertainties of Qr and Qa were Q a,i = i a,i La,i Aa,spec (t a,i t wout ,i ) (6)
in the range of 02.5% and 03.8%, respectively. More details
for uncertainty analysis were supplied in the Appendix A. where, r,i and a,i were refrigerant and air side heat transfer
coefficients for the ith element, Wm2 K1. Lr,i, La,i and Lw,i were
the element length respectively calculated from refrigerant, air
3. Distributed parameter model for PFMC and tube wall side, m. Ar,spec, Aa,spec and Aw,spec were the heat trans-
evaporator fer areas per unit length of refrigerant side, air side and tube
wall side, m2. w was aluminum thermal conductivity, Wm1 K1.
The distributed parameter (DP) method was implemented to w was the tube wall thickness, m. The moisture separation co-
develop PFMC evaporator numerical model, which was divided efficient i showed in Eq. (7) was used to characterize latent
into three parts, namely, refrigerant side, tube side and air side. heat transfer caused by mass transfer (Deru, 2003).
Each control volume was treated as a simple cross-flow ar-
rangement between refrigerant and air stream, as showed in da,i dw,i
1 + 2051 da,i dw,i
Fig. 3. To simplify the research, main assumptions were made i = c p,i (t a,i t w,i ) (7)
1 da,i < dw,i
(Zhao et al., 2012):

(1) Refrigerant flow and airflow were one-dimensional ho- where, da,i and dw,i were the air absolute humidity under element
mogenous flows; air temperature (ta,i) and tube wall temperature (tw,i), respec-
(2) Heat conduction along axial direction and radiation heat tively. cp,i was air specific heat of the ith element, Jkg1 K1.
transfer were negligible;
3.2. Air side heat transfer and pressure drop
(3) Refrigerant distribution was uniform;
(4) Refrigerant pressure drops caused by the header were
Louver fins showed significant effects on air side heat trans-
fer performance and the conventional Nusselt number was not
(5) Thermal physical properties were identified with the
applicable to calculate air side heat transfer coefficients. In this
average value of inlet and outlet parameters.
study, j factor and f factor empirical correlations were applied
to calculate air side heat transfer and pressure drop, respec-
3.1. Heat transfer control equations
tively (Kim and Bullard, 2001). For dry conditions, j factor
and f factor empirical correlations were given by Eqs. (8) and
Heat transfers between refrigerant side and tube wall side (Qr,i),
inner wall side and outer wall side(Qw,i), tube wall side and air
side (Qa,i) were expressed in Eqs.(4)(6), respectively.
( 90 )
0.13 0.29 0.235 0.279 0.05
0.257 0.68
j = ReLp
FP Fh Fd Ll TP
1.682 1.22 0.818 1.97
Fp Fh Fd Ll
f = ReLp L L L L
90 p p p p (9)
(100 < ReLp < 600)

where, ReLp was Reynolds number based on louver fin struc-

tures, ReLp = DLpGa a ; DLp was the hydraulic diameter based on
louver fin, DLp = 2FpFh (F + 2
p )
Fp2 4 + Fh2 ; Fp, Fh, Fd were fin pitch,
fin height and fin width, mm; Ga was air mass flux, kgm2s1;
Fig. 3 Control volume of the DP model. a was air viscosity, Pas; was louver angle, degree; Lp and Ll
6 international journal of refrigeration 63 (2016) 113

were louver pitch and length, mm; Tp was tube pitch, mm; f KB_Correlation. KB_Correlation (Kandlikar
was fin thickness, mm. and Balasubramanian, 2004) was used to represent a
For wet conditions, the effect of condensation water on heat selection model, which considered the larger value between
transfer performance decreases as Reynolds number in- nucleate boiling heat transfer coefficient and convective boiling
creases (Kim and Bullard, 2002). The air side heat transfer heat transfer coefficient as the flow boiling heat transfer
and pressure drop were calculated from Eqs. (10) and (11), coefficient.
nb = [0.6683Co 0.2 + 1058Bo 0.7Ff ] (1 x )0.8 liq (17)

( )
0.171 0.29 0.248 0.275 0.05
0.25 0.68
j = ReLp FP Fh Fd Ll TP (10)
cb = [1.136Co 0.9 + 667.2Bo 0.7Ff ] (1 x )0.8 liq (18)
2.635 1.22 0.823 1.97
Fp Fh Fd Ll
f = ReLp liq = 0.023liq DhReliq
0 .8 0 .4
90 Prliq (19)
p p p p (11)
(80 < ReLp < 300)
tp = max ( nb, cb ) (20)
3.3. Refrigerant side heat transfer and pressure drop
where, Co = ( vap liq ) (1 x x)0.8; Bo was boiling number,
0 .5

3.3.1. Superheated vapor heat transfer correlation Bo = q (irGr ) ; q was heat flux, Wm2; ir was evaporation latent
As for superheated vapor region, refrigerant heat transfer co- heat, kJ kg1; Gr was refrigerant mass flux, kg m2 s1. The fluid-
efficients were obtained from the DittusBoelter correlation as surface parameter (Ff) for R134a was 1.63.
shown in Eq. (12). SM_Correlation. SM_Correlation (Sun and Mishima,
sp = 0.023 vap DhRevap
0 .8 0 .4
Prvap (12) 2009) was a modified LazarekBlack correlation (Lazarek and
Black, 1982), which was correlated by experimental data. Di-
where, Pr was Prandtl number, Pr = c p . mensionless parameters such as Reynolds number (Re), boiling
number (Bo) and Weber number (We) were included in the
3.3.2. Flow boiling heat transfer correlation fitting correlation.
In this section, three existing flow boiling heat transfer cor-
relations namely, B_Correlation (Bertsch et al., 2009a), 6Re1liq.05Bo 0.54 liq
tp = (21)
KB_Correlation (Kandlikar and Balasubramanian, 2004) and We0.191
liq ( liq vap )
SM_Correlation (Sun and Mishima, 2009) were introduced, which
were respectively chosen to represent superposition model, se- where, We was Webb number, We = Gr2 Dh ( liq ) ; was surface
lection model and fitting model by considering evaporator tension, Nm1.
working conditions and working fluid properties. In addition,
a new proposed correlation was developed based on modify- New correlation. In developing new flow boiling heat
ing superposition model. transfer correlation, two critical aspects should be solved out,
namely, correlation format and correlation coefficients. Gen- B_Correlation. B_Correlation (Bertsch et al., 2009a) was erally, Reynolds number (Re) and Prandtl number (Pr) were used
a superposition model for flow boiling heat transfer coeffi- to show the effect of flow regime and thermal/momentum
cient (tp) prediction by improving Chen type correlation (Chen, diffusivity. Weber number (We) was introduced to character-
1966), which included nucleate boiling (nb) and convective ize the effect of tube hydraulic diameter and Froude number
boiling (cb), as shown in Eqs. (13)(16). (Fr) was included to represent the gravity factor. It was dem-
onstrated that the two-phase heat transfer coefficient in small
tp = nb (1 x ) + cb [1 + 80 ( x2 x6 ) e0.6Co ] (13) channel was a function of LockhartMartinelli parameter (Xtt),
which was utilized to express the influence of refrigerant quality
(x) on flow boiling heat transfer (Saitoh et al., 2005). In this study,
nb = 55 ( p pc ) ( log 10 ( p pc ))0.55 M 0.5q0.67
the correlation for R134a mininchanel flow boiling heat trans-
fer prediction was determined based on flow boiling mechanism
cb = cb,liq (1 x ) + cb,vap x (15) analysis afore mentioned, which was expressed in Eq. (22). The
new convective boiling enhancement factor (Enew) was defined
D as a function of Xtt and We. The nucleate boiling suppression
0.0688 h RekPrk
k Tl factor (Snew) was combined with Bo, Fr, We, and x. Enew and Snew
cb,k = 3.66 + 23 (16) were respectively given by Eqs. (23) and (24). The coefficients
Dh Dh
1 + 0 . 04 Re Pr
Tl k k in the developed correlation were decided by database with
the least square method.
where, x was refrigerant quality; pc was critical pressure, kPa;
Co was confinement number, Co = [g ( liq vap ) Dh2 ]
; M was tp = Enew liq + Snew nb (22)
mole mass of R134a, gmol1; k represented for liquid or vapor;
Tl was tube length, m. Enew = (1 + 9.8Xtt0.2 ) Wevap
international journal of refrigeration 63 (2016) 113 7

Table 3 Application range of correlations.

Correlation Parameter range
B_Correlation Dh: 0.16-2.92 mm; Co: 0.3-4; Gr: 203000 kgm2s1; q: 41150 kWm2; tsat: -194-97 C; x: 0-1
KB_Correlation Dh: 0.19-2.92 mm; Gr: 50570 kgm2s1; q: 5.4690.75 kWm2; Reliq: 4102995; x: 0-0.98
SM_Correlation Dh: 0.21-6.5 mm; Gr: 441500 kgm2s1; q: 5109000 kWm2
Reliq: 1243600; Revap: 30340000; x: 0-1
New_Correlation Dh: 0.16-6.5 mm; Gr: 201500 kgm2s1; q: 4109000 kWm2; Re: 12340000; x: 0-1

Bo0.02Fr 0.04 e0.81 x to calculate outlet parameters at each element based on inlet
Snew = (24)
1 104 ReliqEnew0.79 conditions. The refrigerant state was determined in order to
calculate refrigerant heat transfer coefficient. The tube wall tem-
where, Fr = Gr2 ( liq
gDh ) ; g was gravitational acceleration, ms2; perature was firstly assumed and finally determined when the
liq and nb were same as Eqs. (19) and (14). The application error between element lengths respectively calculated by re-
ranges of four flow boiling correlations were summarized in frigerant side and air side was within a satisfying range (106).
Table 3. After calculation of the present control volume, outcomes would
be assigned to the next control volume as input parameters.
3.3.3. Refrigerant side pressure drop The iteration process stopped when calculated tube length and
The single phase refrigerant pressure drop was calculated based tube number were in a limited error with actual values. The
on the correlation as showed in Eqs. (25) and (26). entire program was developed under Visual Basic (VB)
L Gr2
psp = f (25)
Dh 2vap

4. Validation and assessment

64 ReDh (ReDh 2300)
f = (26)
0.3164ReDh (ReDh > 2300) 4.1. Database for correlation validation

where, f was fanning friction factor; ReDh was Reynolds number Before investigating the effects of flow boiling heat transfer cor-
based on channel hydraulic diameter. relations on the PFMC evaporator numerical model, four
As for two-phase region, refrigerant pressure drop was mainly correlations provided in Section 3.3.2 were validated with ex-
contributed by acceleration (pac), friction (pfr), and gravity (pg), perimental data. The database for flow boiling heat transfer
as shown in Eq. (27). Generally, the gravity can be neglected in correlation validation was constituted by 236 data points, which
PFMC evaporator compared with acceleration and friction. were collected from open literature (Bertsch et al., 2009a; Lie
et al., 2006; Shiferaw et al., 2007, 2009). All these data points
ptp = pac + p f + pg (27) were applicable to R134a and test conditions were in accor-
dance with evaporator working conditions. The database range
Acceleration pressure drop (Zhao et al., 2012) was ex-
for correlation validation was presented in Table 4.
pressed in terms of PFMC evaporator inlet and outlet conditions,
which was evaluated by Eq. (28).
4.2. Database for DP model validation
(1 xout )2 xin2 (1 xin )2
pac = Gr2 + + (28) The database for DP model validation was formed by 116 sets
out vap (1 out ) liq in vap (1 in ) liq
of obtained experimental data, which were demonstrated in
where, was refrigerant state factor, Fig. 5. The Cooling capacities (Q), air outlet temperatures (ta,out),
1 refrigerant superheats (tr,sup), air side pressure drops (pa), and
= 1 + (vap liq ) (1 x ) x .

refrigerant side pressure drops (pr) were in the range of 1640

Zhang and Webbs correlation (Zhang and Webb, 2001) was 8780 W, 6.722.7C, 13.136.5C, 104.1177.7 Pa, and 4.789.5 kPa,
adopted for friction pressure drop calculation. respectively.

2 fGr2 Ltp xout

p fr =
liq Dh xout
2dx (29) 4.3. Correlation and model assessment

The correlations and DP model were evaluated by comparing

where, L tp was the length of two-phase region, m;
them against the database from the global level. Two widely
was two-phase multiplier, = (1 x ) + 2.87x ( p pc ) +
2 2 2 1

used parameters for global assessment were the mean abso-

1.68x (1 x ) ( p pc )
0 .8 0.25 1.64
lute error (MAE) and the maximum absolute error (MAX), which
were respectively defined by Eqs. (30) and (31).
3.4. Model simulation methodology

1 n pre,i exp,i
The simulation methodology for PFMC evaporator was sum- MAE = exp,i 100%
n i =1
marized in Fig. 4. The first step in the iterative procedure was
8 international journal of refrigeration 63 (2016) 113

Fig. 4 DP model simulation process.

pre,i exp,i showed the MAX of 200.2% and the MAE of 44.9%. B_correlation
MAX = max 100% (31) can be employed to predict accurately when < 5500 Wm2 K1.
KB_Correlation predictions were shown in Fig. 7b. The data
where, pre and exp were predicted and experimental values; closely followed 70% to 30% error bands, which showed the
n was the number of data points. MAX and the MAE of 78.2% and 53.9%, respectively. Compari-
sons between experimental data with SM_Correlation
predictions were given in Fig. 7c. Most predictions were within
80% to 30% error bands, which gave the MAX and the MAE
5. Results and discussions of 88.1% and 48.6%, respectively. Fig. 7d demonstrated the errors
yielded by the new correlation. Nearly all data fell in 30% error
5.1. New correlation verification
bands. Compared with published correlations, the new pro-
posed correlation with the MAX of 32.3% and the MAE of 7.9%
The new proposed flow boiling heat transfer correlation was
showed satisfying accuracy in flow boiling heat transfer
found to fit the correlation validation database precisely. The
determined enhancement factor (Enew) and the suppression
Additionally, the proportions of data falling within the range
factor (Snew) were plotted against Reynolds number (Re) in Fig. 6.
of 30% and 50% error bands were presented in Table 5.
It was noticed that Enew increased while Snew decreased with
B_Correlation captured 73% of all data in 50% error bands.
Re increase, which indicated that the convective boiling con-
KB_Correlation demonstrated 39% of the data within 30% error
tribution increased while the nucleate boiling contribution
bands and 57% within 50% error bands. 50% of all predic-
decreased during the evaporation process. The results derived
tions by SM_Correlation fell in 50% error bands. The new
from this paper were similar with Mahmoud and Karayiannis
proposed correlation displayed the best performance with 99%
research (Mahmoud and Karayiannis, 2013).
of predictions in 30% error bands.

5.2. Comparison of correlations 5.3. Numerical simulation results

Comparisons of experimental and predicted heat transfer co- In order to show the effects of flow boiling heat transfer cor-
efficients were illustrated in Fig. 7. Fig. 7a presented relations on the DP model, refrigerant quality (x) and heat
B_Correlation predictions and experimental values, which transfer (Q) varying along the refrigerant flow direction (Li/L)

Table 4 The database for flow boiling heat transfer correlation validation.
pr (kPa) Dh (mm) q (kWm2) Gr (kgm2s1) x r (Wm2K1)
Min 239.7 0.21 8 125 0 1907.7
Max 488.4 6.5 19.6 1500 1 14572.9
international journal of refrigeration 63 (2016) 113 9

transfer occurred with refrigerant flow boiling state. In spite

of the large difference in local heat transfer predictions,
the DP model showed robust performance in PFMC heat trans-
fer prediction. The reason for this is that the air side heat
transfer is the limiting constraint. These predictions would
supply guidance in flow pass and tube arrangement
Comparisons between experimental and predicted heat
transfer performance were shown in Fig. 9. From Fig. 9a, it could
be noticed that the DP model using selected correlations except
for SM_Correlation showed cooling capacity predictions
within 30% error bands. SM_Correlation gave the MAX and
the MAE of 45.9% and 27.7%, respectively. DP model with
B_Correlation demonstrated the MAX of 18.4% and the MAE
of 7.1%. DP model with KB_Correlation showed the MAX of
11.1% and the MAE of 3.2%. DP model with the new correla-
tion showed the best performance, showing the MAX and the
MAE of 5.4% and 1.5%.
The outlet air temperature is closely related to thermal
comfort. The experimental results and predicted outlet air tem-
peratures were demonstrated in Fig. 9b. DP model with
SM_Correlation showed the worst performance with the MAX
and the MAE of 57.5% and 29.4%, respectively. DP model with
B_Correlation showed the MAX of 26.5% and the MAE of 10.8%.
DP model with KB_Correlation gave the MAX and the MAE of
45.5% and 19.5%, respectively. DP model with the new pro-
posed correlation demonstrated the best performance with the
Fig. 5 PFMC evaporator experimental parameters range.
MAX of 22.1% and the MAE of 9.1%.
Refrigerant superheat at PFMC evaporator outlet is an es-
sential parameter for the intelligent control of air conditioning
were given in Fig. 8. The figure illustrated the calculated results
systems. DP model predicted superheats were shown in Fig. 9c.
under mr =92.2 kg h1, pr =288 kPa, and ua =4 ms1. From Fig. 8a,
Superheat predictions with SM_Correlation were zero for all
refrigerant was predicted to reach superheat vapor state at
experimental conditions, which further clarified large predic-
about Li/L = 0.4 except for SM_Correlation. Combining with
tion errors in cooling capacity and air outlet temperature.
Fig. 8b, it can be concluded that more than 80% of the heat
Compared to experimental data, DP model with B_Correlation,
KB_Correlation and new proposed correlation showed the MAX
of 100%, 100% and 88.6% and the MAE of 51.6%, 48.5%, and 18.8%
in superheat prediction, respectively. The calculated super-
heat is generally smaller than the experimental superheat. The
reason can be attributed to that the refrigerant remain in the
liquid state that dissolved in the oil is not taken into account,
which would lead to the mass flow rate larger than the ex-
perimental value. It was concluded that the effects of flow
boiling heat transfer correlations on PFMC evaporator numeri-
cal model should not be overlooked. Accurate predictions in
flow boiling heat transfer would lead to precise PFMC evapo-
rator performance predictions.
Prediction errors in air side and refrigerant side pressure
drop with air velocity and refrigerant mass flow rate were sup-
plied in Fig. 10, which were based on the DP model with the
new proposed correlation. The MAEs of air side and refriger-
ant side pressure drop were 14.2% and 19.8%, respectively. As
can be seen from Fig. 10a, the error of air side pressure drop
prediction was related to the air velocity, which confirmed the
stability of the DP model. From Fig. 10b, the prediction of re-
frigerant pressure drop showed lower precision compared with
cooling capacity and air outlet temperature prediction. The
reason was that the local pressure drop caused by the header
Fig. 6 The enhancement factor and suppression factor was not taken into consideration. In addition, the refrigerant
with Re. mal-distribution was neglected. It is worth noting that
10 international journal of refrigeration 63 (2016) 113

(a) (b)

(c) (d)

Fig. 7 Comparison between flow boiling heat transfer correlations (a) B_Correlation; (b) KB_Correlation; (c) SM_Correlation;
(d) New_Correlation.

the pressure drops interact with heat transfers in PFMC

Table 5 Comparisons between published correlations
and new correlation.
Correlations Proportion Proportion
within 30% within 50% 6. Conclusions
B_Correlation 52% 73%
KB_Correlation 39% 57% In this paper, a numerical model for PFMC evaporator was es-
SM_Correlation 26% 50%
tablished by applying the distributed parameter (DP) method.
New_Correlation 99% 100%
To verify the presented model, PFMC evaporator perfor-

Fig. 8 Predictions of refrigerant quality and heat transfer along the refrigerant flow direction.
international journal of refrigeration 63 (2016) 113 11

(a) (c)

Fig. 9 Predictions of PFMC evaporator heat transfer performance (a) cooling capacity; (b) outlet air temperature; (c)
refrigerant superheat.

mance was tested under 116 experimental conditions. A new of China (Grant No. 2013BAG03B01). The authors appreciate
minichannel flow boiling heat transfer correlation was pro- Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) for the supply
posed based on experimental data collected from published of parallel flow minichannel evaporator.
literature, which gave the mean absolute error (MAE) of 7.9%.
The accuracy of the DP model was examined with four dif-
ferent flow boiling heat transfer correlations. The results showed
that the DP model using the new correlation obtained the Appendix A: Data reduction and uncertainty
highest precision, which demonstrated the MAEs of 3.2%, 9.1%, analysis
18.8%, 14.2%, and 19.8% in predicting cooling capacity, outlet
air temperature, refrigerant superheat, air side and refriger-
All data were recorded with a Keithley 2700 data acquisition
ant side pressure drop, respectively. Therefore, the developed
system and ExceLINX data acquisition software. Data were
DP model with the new proposed flow boiling heat transfer cor-
scanned every 2 seconds and monitored via a graphic window.
relation can provide practical information for PFMC evaporator
After achieving steady state, data were averaged over 10
performance analysis and optimization. Furthermore, the DP
minutes. Using the averaged data, thermodynamic and per-
model accuracy would be improved by taking refrigerant dis-
formance calculations were performed under Engineering
tribution factor and flow pass arrangement in to consideration.
Equation Solver (EES) software. The specific enthalpy R134a (hr)
was expressed as a function of refrigerant temperature (tr) and
pressure (pr), as shown in Eq. (A1). The specific enthalpy of mois-
Acknowledgments ture air was derived from psychometric chart using temperature
(ta) and relative humidity (), which was shown in Eq. (A2).
The authors would like to acknowledge financial support pro-
vided by the National Science and Technology Support Program hr = f (t r, pr ) (A1)

(a) (b)

Fig. 10 Predictions of PFMC evaporator pressure drop (a) air side pressure drop; (b) refrigerant side pressure drop.
12 international journal of refrigeration 63 (2016) 113

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