Mathematical Modeling And Numerical Simulation of Dropwise Condensation on an Inclined Circular Tube

Hamid Reza Talesh Bahrami, Hamid Saffari


Dropwise condensation can improve heat transfer process and, consequently, leads to considerable reduction in size and weight of condensers as well as improvement in the dehumidification process in many applications, especially in civil transport aircraft. It can also be used as an efficient cooling tool for electronics and electrical systems in aircraft engineering and aerospace technology. In this paper, the stable dropwise condensation on an inclined tube is mathematically analyzed. To do this, the population of small droplets is estimated by population balance theory while an empirical correlation is used for large droplets. To calculate heat transfer across each droplet, sum of temperature drops due to droplet curvature, phase change at droplet-vapor interface, conduction through the droplet and promoter layer, are equated with surface subcooling. The total heat transfer is calculated with the given droplets population and heat transfer through single droplet. Subsequently, effects of various parameters, including surface subcooling, contact angle and contact angle hysteresis on the growth rate, maximum radius of droplet, droplets population, and total heat transfer rate, are investigated. Results show that growth rate and heat flux of small droplets are much higher than those of the larger ones; hence, surface with small droplets is preferred for dropwise condensation purposes. Droplets with low contact angle and contact angle hysteresis have higher heat transfer rates. Increasing the inclination of tube improves heat transfer process to such an extent that vertical tubes have higher heat transfer rate than the horizontal ones. This fact indicates that vertical tubes must be used for designing condensers with dropwise condensation, which is quite the opposite for condensers designed based on filmwise condensation.


Dropwise condensation; Mathematical modeling; Air conditioning; Inclined tubes; Contact angle

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