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Condensation Heat Transfer Fundamentals

Condensation Heat Transfer Fundamentals

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CONDENSATION HEAT TRANSFER FUNDAMENTALS
 J. W. ROSE
Department of Engineering, Queen Mary and West®eld College, University of London, London,UK 
 T
 he paper gives an outline and discussion of those aspects of condensationheat transfer theory which are relatively well understood. For free convection condensation, theNusselt approximations (neglect of inertia, convection and surface shear stress) arediscussed separately. The effects of interphase matter transfer and variable wall temperature, not considered by Nusselt, are also discussed. Complications arising in forced convectioncondensation, where the condensate ®lm is signi®cantly affected by surface shear stress, areoutlined.The present status of dropwise condensationtheory and measurements is also brie¯yreviewed.
Keywords: condensation; ®lmwise; dropwise; interface resistance
INTRODUCTION
Many factors in¯uence heat-transfer coef®cients duringcondensation.The condenser surfaces may be wetted by thecondensate, when ®lm condensation (the normal mode)occurs, or non-wetted when dropwise condensation occurs. The vapour may be quiescent or moving across thecondensing surface at signi®cant velocity. The condensateand vapour ¯ows may be laminar or turbulent. The vapourmay comprise more than one molecular species and not allspecies may condense. Condensate from higher or upstreamsurfaces will generally impinge on lower or downstreamsurfaces (inundation) and thereby affect the heat transfer. The problems encountered in practical condensers are toocomplex to permit detailed and accurate modelling, andcondenser design generally incorporates a substantialamount of idealizationand empiricism. Even for condensa- tion of a pure (single constituent) vapour, there existdif®cult or intractable problems such as those associatedwith geometry (3-D ¯ow with free-stream vapour velocityaligned neither with gravity nor the condensing surface), turbulence,calculationof vapour-condensateinterface shearstress, irregularity (rippling)of vapour-condensateinterfaceand inundation. Before these problems can be properlyaddressed, it is necessary to have a good appreciation of  those aspects which are better understood, namely gravity-controlled laminar ®lm condensation with simple geometryand, to a lesser extent, forced convection condensation anddropwise condensation. The Nusselt
1
models for laminar free convection ®lmcondensation on a vertical plate and horizontal tube areoutlined and the Nusselt approximations(neglect of inertia,convection and surface shear stress) are discussed indivi-dually. The effects of interface resistance, arising frominterphase matter transfer, and variable wall temperature, not considered by Nusselt, are also discussed. As is wellknown, the Nusselt model is remarkably accurate in the practical ranges of the relevant parameters. The forcedconvection condensation problem is less straightforward in that the surface shear stress evidently cannot be neglectedand in typical practical circumstances neither of the extreme(high and low condensation rate) approximations for thesurface shear stress is generally valid. Moreover, typically the condensate ¯ow is neither gravity- nor shear stress-dominated and, in the case of the tube, vapour boundarylayer separation adds signi®cant complication. Approaches to the laminar forced-convection condensation problem arealso discussed. Finally, in view of recent reports of  promising new techniques for promoting dropwise con-densation of steam, dropwise condensation theory andmeasurements are also brie¯y reviewed.
THE NUSSELT THEORY
 The problem considered is shown in Figure 1. Nusseltanalysed the case of condensation of a pure, quiescent,saturated vapour on an isothermal plate and on anisothermal horizontal cylinder. He neglected shear stressfrom the vapourat the surface of the condensate®lm as wellas inertia/acceleration and convection in the ®lm. Equili-brium was assumed at the condensate-vapour interface so that the temperature at the outer surface of the condensate®lm was taken as the vapour temperature. Condensate properties were assumed independent of temperature and,for the case of the horizontal tube, the ®lm thickness wasassumed small in comparison with the tube radius. For the vertical ¯at plate and with these assumptions,equating the net downward force on an element of  the condensate ®lm at distance
down the surface and having width
dy
and height
dx 
to zero (rather than mass
´
acceleration) gives:
m
2
u
 y
2
+
D
qq
=
0
(
1
)
Here the vertical pressure gradient term (equal to pressuregradient in the remote vapour) omitted by Nusselt, has beenincludedand leads to the buoyancyterm with
D
q
rather than the condensate density
q
; this only affects the result forcondensation near the critical point. Integration of equation(1) twice with boundary conditions of zero velocity at thewall and zero velocity gradient at the outer surface of the®lm givesthe velocitypro®leacross the ®lm. The productof 143
0263±8762/98/$10.00+0.00
q
Institution of Chemical Engineers Trans IChemE, Vol 76, Part A, February 1998
 
velocity with condensate density and plate width may beintegrated to give the mass ¯ow rate in the ®lm. When theincrement in mass ¯ow rate over
dx 
is equated to thecondensation rate on the surface of the element (the latterwritten in terms of the heat ¯ux obtained by assuming pureconduction across the ®lm equation) a simple differentialequation for ®lm thickness
d
in terms of distance down the plate is obtained. This may be integrated to give the localand mean heat ¯ux. The result for the mean Nusselt numberis
Nu
=
Å
k
=
Å
qL 
k
D
=
223
Gr
 J 
1
/
4
(
2
)
where
 J 
=
k
D
/
g
h
 fg 
(
3
)
and
Gr
=
q
D
q
 gL 
3
/
g
2
(
4
)
When the heat ¯ux rather than
D
is regarded as uniform(independent of height), the result for the mean Nusselt numberis identicalto equation(2) except that the constant
q
replaces the mean value Å
q
(in
Nu
) and the mean
D
replaces the constant
D
.In thecase ofthehorizontaltube,thesame approach,with the additionalassumptionthat the condensate ®lm thicknessis small compared with the tube radius, leads to thefollowing differential equation for the ®lm thicknesssin
h
d
 z 
d
h
+
43
 z 
cos
h
-
2
=
0
(
5
)
where the dimensionless ®lm thickness
 z 
=
q
D
q
 gh
 fg 
gk
D
d
4
(
6
)
 The solutionof equation(5) subject to the conditionthat
is®nite at
h
=
0, or by symmetry d
 z 
/d
h
=
0, is
 z 
=
2sin
4
/
3
h
h
0
sin
1
/
3
h
d
h
(
7
)
as may be readily veri®ed by differentiation. Usingequations(6) and (7), thelocalheat ¯ux
q
=
k
D
/
d
may be written
q
=
q
D
q
 gh
 fg 
k
3
D
3
g
1
/
4
2
-
1
/
4
sin
1
/
3
h
h
0
sin
1
/
3
h
d
h
-
1
/
4
(
8
)
 The mean heat ¯ux up to angle
h
is then given by Å
q
h
=
1
h
h
0
q
d
h
=
q
D
q
 gh
 fg 
k
3
D
3
g
1
/
4
(
h
) (
9
)
where
(
h
)
=
12
1
/
4
1
h
h
0
sin
1
/
3
h
h
0
sin
1
/
3
h
d
h
1
/
4
=
d
h
=
42
1
/
4
31
h
h
0
sin
1
/
3
h
d
h
3
/
4
(
10
)
so that Å
q
h
=
q
D
q
 gh
 fg 
k
3
D
3
g
1
/
4
42
1
/
4
31
h
h
0
sin
1
/
3
h
d
h
3
/
4
(
11
)
When
h
=
p
we obtain the mean ¯ux for the tube Å
q
=
42
1
/
4
3
pq
D
q
 gh
 fg 
k
3
D
3
g
1
/
4
p
0
sin
1
/
3
h
d
h
3
/
4
(
12
)
144 ROSE
Trans IChemE, Vol 76, Part A, February 1998
Figure 1.
Condensation on a vertical plate and horizontal tube.
 
and
p
0
sin
1
/
3
h
d
h
=
2
7
/
3
p
2
/
C
(
1
/
3
)[
]
3
(
13
)
where
C
is the gamma function. Thus Å
q
=
q
D
q
 gh
 fg 
k
3
D
3
g
1
/
4
(
14
)
where
=
(
8
/
3
)(
2
p
)
1
/
2
C
(
1
/
3
)[
]
-
9
/
4
=
0
.
728 018
¼
(
15
)
and Å
=
Å
q
D
=
q
D
q
 gh
 fg 
k
3
g
D
1
/
4
(
16
)
Nu
=
Å
k
=
q
D
q
 gh
 fg 
3
gk
D
1
/
4
(
17
)
It is interesting to note that Nusselt used planimetry toevaluatetheintegralinequation(7) to obtainvalues o
as afunction of 
h
. These were used to obtain the local heat ¯ux
q
=
k
D
d
=
q
D
q
 gh
 fg 
k
3
D
3
g
1
/
4
 z 
-
1
/
4
(
18
)
and hence, again using planimetry, the mean heat ¯ux for the tube Å
q
=
1
p
p
0
q
d
h
(
19
)
It is remarkable that Nusselt’s results, obtained by multiple planimetry,givea value of 0.725for theconstant
, an errorless than 0.5%.Before leaving the Nusselt solution,the situationnear thebottom of the tube warrants comment. Here the ®lm thickness predicted by the theory increases to in®nity as
h
approaches
p
and the assumption that
d
is small comparedwith the tube radius is invalid. In the case of the Nusselt problem with an isothermal surface, when
D
is uniform, this is not too serious since the erroneous heat ¯ux values near the bottomof the tube where the ®lm is thick are smalland make relatively small contribution to the total heat transfer and hence to the mean heat ¯ux for the tube. For the case of uniform heat ¯ux considered by Fujii
et al.
2
, the mean value of 
D
is evaluated to obtain the mean heat-transfer coef®cient, otherwise using the Nusseltassumptions. Here
D
=
q
pk
p
0
d
d
h
(
20
)
when, as may be seen from Figure 2, the contributionto theintegral in equation (20) from the erroneous values as
h
approaches
p
, is signi®cant. Fujii
et al 
.
2
obtained
Nu
=
0
.
695
q
D
q
 gh
 fg 
3
gk
D
1
/
4
(
21
)
In practice neither uniform
D
nor uniform
q
is found and,in order to determine total or mean heat-transfer rate for acondenser tube, it is strictly necessary to calculate the local heat-transfer rate from vapour to coolant using a value for the coolant-sideheat-transfer coef®cient and taking accountof two dimensional heat transfer in the tube wall. Separatesolutions are needed for all condensing ¯uids, vapour andcoolant temperatures, coolant-sideheat-transfer coef®cientsand tube diameters and thermal conductivities. The procedure is described by Honda and Fujii
3
. Memory and Rose
4
 noted that measured wall temperature pro®les areclosely approximated by cosine curves (see Figure 3). Thevapour-to-surface temperature difference in this case maybe written
D
=
D
(
1
-
cos
h
) (
22
)
where
is a constant which may take values between 0(when the temperature difference is uniform around the tube, i.e. the Nusselt case) and unity (the extreme casewhere the temperature difference is zero at the top of the tube). Treating the problem otherwise, as in the Nusseltsolution, the following differential equation is obtained for the ®lm thicknessd
 z 
d
h
+
43
 z 
cot
h
-
2
(
1
-
cos
h
)
sin
h
=
0
(
23
)
 The solution of equation (23) with the condition that
145CONDENSATION HEAT TRANSFER FUNDAMENTALS
Trans IChemE, Vol 76, Part A, February 1998
Figure 2.
Condensationon a horizontal tube. Dependence of ®lm thicknesson angle.
Figure 3.
Surface temperature variation around a horizontal tube.Condensation of ethylene glycol (see Memory and Rose
4
). The brokenlines are cosine ®ts.

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