Modelling and Measurements on a Condensing Counter-Flow Heat Exchanger

  • Mahdi B. Abdul Wahab

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Experimental investigations and computer modelling studies have been made on the refrigerant-water counterflow condenser section of a small air to water heat pump. The main object of the investigation was a comparative study between the computer modelling predictions and the experimental observations for a range of operating conditions but other characteristics of a counterflow heat exchanger are also discussed. The counterflow condenser consisted of 15 metres of a thermally coupled pair of copper pipes, one containing the R12 working fluid and the other water flowing in the opposite direction. This condenser was mounted horizontally and folded into 0.5 metre straight sections. Thermocouples were inserted in both pipes at one metre intervals and transducers for pressure and flow measurement were also included. Data acquisition, storage and analysis was carried out by a micro-computer suitably interfaced with the transducers and thermocouples. Many sets of readings were taken under a variety of conditions, with air temperature ranging from 18 to 26 degrees Celsius, water inlet from 13.5 to 21.7 degrees, R12 inlet temperature from 61.2 to 81.7 degrees and water mass flow rate from 6.7 to 32.9 grammes per second. A Fortran computer model of the condenser (originally prepared by Carrington[1]) has been modified to match the information available from experimental work. This program uses iterative segmental integration over the desuperheating, mixed phase and subcooled regions for the R12 working fluid, the water always being in the liquid phase. Methods of estimating the inlet and exit fluid conditions from the available experimental data have been developed for application to the model. Temperature profiles and other parameters have been predicted and compared with experimental values for the condenser for a range of evaporator conditions and have shown that the model gives a satisfactory prediction of the physical behaviour of a simple counterflow heat exchanger in both single phase and two phase regions.
Date of Award1989
Original languageEnglish


  • refrigerant-water counterflow condenser
  • counterflow heat
  • Thermocouples

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