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journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/ijhmt

exchangers

Pourya Forooghi , Kamel Hooman

Queensland Geothermal Energy Centre of Excellence, School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering, The University of Queensland, QLD 4072, Australia

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Article history:

Received 23 January 2014

Received in revised form 7 March 2014

Accepted 18 March 2014

Keywords:

Plate heat exchanger

Convection heat transfer

Properties

Buoyancy

a b s t r a c t

Heat transfer of a supercritical refrigerant with highly variable properties close to pseudo-critical temperature was experimentally investigated in plate heat exchangers. Two different plate corrugation angles

(30 and 60) were examined while the Reynolds and the Prandtl number range from 800 to 4200 and

3.2 to 4.2, respectively. The results are found to be different from those obtained using classical DittusBoelter type correlations. Two possible effects were investigated: effect of wall-to-bulk property

ratio and that of buoyancy. The former was found to be important and was accounted for in the correlation using the correction factor proposed by Jackson and Hall. The latter was found not to be signicant

for corrugation angle of 60. For corrugation angle of 30, however, buoyancy effects were found to have

some inuence, yet majority of the data points are found to be within 15% of those predicted using the

correlation.

2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction

On account of their compactness and high heat transfer coefcients, plate-type heat exchangers (PTHEs) have been increasingly

used in various industries in the past decades [13]. With improvements in manufacturing techniques and invention of novel designs,

high pressure and temperature uids can be pumped through

PTHEs [3,4]. Queensland Geothermal Energy Centre of Excellence

(QGECE) has been considering PTHE as a favorite candidate for

being used in the development of binary geothermal power cycles.

An area of major focus in QGECE is the study of power cycles with

supercritical working uids to bring about higher energy conversion efciencies for geothermal energy resources.

The term supercritical uid is used in this paper to address a

uid with a pressure higher than its critical pressure. At any supercritical pressure, there is never two distinguishable liquid and vapor phases in equilibrium. What happens instead is a gradual

transition from high-density liquid-like uid to low-density gaslike uid with an increase in the temperature. With temperature

close to pseudo-critical temperature (Tpc), the rate of this decrease

in density intensies leading to very high thermal expansion coefcients untypical to most single phase uids. Moreover, at a supercritical pressure, specic heat is considerably higher in the vicinity

of Tpc. Pseudo-critical temperature itself depends on the pressure,

Corresponding author. Tel.: +49 721 60845880.

E-mail address: p.forooghi@uq.edu.au (P. Forooghi).

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijheatmasstransfer.2014.03.052

0017-9310/ 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

pressure [5].

Heat transfer of a supercritical uid with rapid changes in density and specic heat, like what described above, can be different

from that of normal uids. It has been known since long time ago

that heat transfer of supercritical uids in straight tubes does not

follow the prediction of conventional heat transfer correlations

when uids temperature approaches the pseudo-critical temperature [69]. It is partly due to the fact that temperaturedependent thermophysical properties may be considerably

different near the wall compared to those at bulk temperature.

Obviously, new correlations were called for containing corrections

for the unusually high wall-to-bulk ratios of density and specic

heat. A number of such correlations have been suggested in the

literature for turbulent heat transfer in circular pipes [6,812].

Although most of the correlations were derived based on experiments on a specic uid most commonly CO2 or water the

correction factor expressions are very similar to each other. Jackson, therefore, proposed a semi-empirical correlation, according

to which the Nusselt number of a variable-property uid ow is

equal to that of the same uid ow with properties evaluated

at the bulk temperature using a constant property correlation

corrected by two correction factors representing variations of

density and specic heat [9,13]:

NuVP NuCP

ep

C

C p;b

!a1

qw

qb

a2

;

P. Forooghi, K. Hooman / International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer 74 (2014) 448459

Nomenclature

Latin symbols

A

area [m2]

C

correlation constant []

CP

effective wall-temperature correction factor []; Eq.

(16)

Cp

specic heat [kJ/kg K]

dh

hydraulic diameter [m]

G

mass velocity [kg/m2 s]

g

gravity acceleration [m/s2]

q q q gd3

Gr

h

HTC

i

L

m, n

_

m

N

Nu

Grashof number; b b l w h

b

enthalpy [kJ/kg]

convective heat transfer coefcient [kW/m2 K]

data point index []

plate length [m]

correlation exponents []

mass ow rate [kg/s]

total number of data points []

h

Nusselt number; HTCd

kb

Pr

Re

h

Reynolds number; Gd

l

Ri

S

T

t

TC

U

x

Richardson number; Gr

Re

standard deviation []

temperature [C]

students statistical factor [];

_ CP

thermal capacity [kJ/s K]; m

overall heat transfer coefcient [kW/m2 K]

coordinate in ow direction [m]

Greek symbols

a1,2

correlation exponents []

b

corrugation angle []

e p R T b C p dT =T b T w . Exponents a1 and a2 were sugwhere C

Tw

gested to be equal to the values used in correlation of Krasnoshchekov and Protopopov [10], which are variables themselves. In a

simpler version of their correlation, Jackson and Hall [9] proposed

constant values of 0.5 and 0.3 for a1 and a2, respectively.

A correlation of kind Eq. (1), however, may not be adequate to

predict heat transfer to or from a supercritical uid ow. In such

a uid ow, buoyancy force may affect the ow eld in a range

of Reynolds number where buoyancy is negligible in typical uid

ows. Most notable occurrence of this phenomenon is reported

for turbulent heat transfer in vertical pipes. It has been observed

that in such ows, with an increase in buoyancy forces, heat transfer is impaired, for upward ow direction, and is enhanced for

downward ow direction [1416]. For a laminar ow the converse

is true. The reason is explained as the deformation of velocity prole due to the effect of buoyancy force leading to a reduction or

enhancement of shear stress (depending on the ow direction) in

a region of ow where turbulence production is concentrated. Such

a change in the level of turbulence production is reected by a

change in the local heat transfer coefcient, which is highly sensitive to the amount of turbulence diffusivity. A detailed description

of the underlying physics can be found in [1720]. One would

expect this phenomenon be geometry-dependent but as all

above-mentioned references studied supercritical uid ow

through vertical pipes, it is hard to extend use of the existing

experimental results for plate heat exchangers. Recently, Forooghi

k

l

q

449

plate thickness [m]

thermal conductivity [W/m K]

viscosity [kg/m s]

density [kg/m3]

Subscripts

b

bulk

CP

constant property

0

f, f

uid index

G

Ethylene Glycol

HT

heat transfer

i

data point index

in

inlet

mean

mean value

out

outlet

plate

plate

R

refrigerant

VP

variable property

w

wall

Superscripts

(corr)

correlation

(exp)

experimental

Abbreviations

HTC

heat transfer coefcient

LMTD

log mean temperature difference

NWC

not wall-temperature corrected

PTHE

plate type heat exchanger

QGECE Queensland Geothermal Energy Centre of Excellence

THE

test heat exchanger

WC

wall-temperature corrected

for inclined pipes [21], and corrugated channels [22], which would

be specically useful in the study of plate heat exchangers. This issue will be discussed in Section 3.3.

A number of experimental researches on heat transfer of supercritical uids in vertical and horizontal ducts have been published

in the past decades. Watts and Chou [15] measured heat transfer

coefcient of heated supercritical water owing in vertical pipes,

and developed an empirical correlation. Their correlation accounts

for both physical effects discussed above (wall-to-bulk property

variation and buoyancy). More recently, a similar correlation was

developed by Bae and co-workers based on extensive experiments

they carried out on heated supercritical CO2 in vertical pipes and

annuli [16,23,24]. As mentioned before, although the correlations

are developed for different uids, the suggested correction factors

are fairly similar and indicate on generality of the analysis. Jiang

et al. [25,26] and Kim and Kim [27] also performed experiments

on supercritical heat transfer in vertical pipes under heating condition to provide further evidence on the effect of property variation

on heat transfer coefcient. Liao and Zhao [28] studied a similar

problem in horizontal tubes with diameters between 0.5 and

2.16 mm, and reported the inuence of buoyancy in these tubes.

A number of reports are available in the literature for heat transfer

of supercritical uids owing in horizontal tubes or tube bundles

being cooled by another uid owing outside tubes [12,29,30].

These reports mostly concerned about nding correction factors

450

P. Forooghi, K. Hooman / International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer 74 (2014) 448459

any buoyancy effect.

As described above, the studies on turbulent heat transfer in uids with highly variable properties are mainly focused on simple

geometries most commonly circular pipe and, expectedly, care

has to be taken when it comes to use the existing correlations for a

much more complicated geometry like a PTHE. A PTHE is a heat exchanger composed of several patterned plates stacked together.

The gaps between plates act as ow passages; hot and cold streams

are distributed between the passages in such a way that different

streams are in contact with two sides of a plate acting as a (usually

thin) heat transfer surface. It is a common practice to use corrugated plates in PTHEs. Usually the corrugation directions of adjacent plates are in opposite angle in order to generate a complex

ow pattern which guarantees adequate mixing (see Fig. 1).

Attempts for nding reliable heat transfer correlations for

PTHEs with corrugated plates have started as early as 60s. In one

of the earliest, and yet most systematic, studies, Okada et al.

[31], investigated different geometries by changing corrugation angles and pitch-to-depth ratio of the plates. They found heat transfer

correlations of the Dittus and Boelter type to be suitable for their

experimented heat exchangers. Kumar [32] and Thonon [33] tried

to develop their own heat transfer correlations for single-phase

working uids to come up with similar type of correlation, but

slightly different in constants. Muley and Manglik [34] tried to obtain a generalized correlation, which can be applied to a range of

geometries. In their correlation, the parameters are functions of

corrugation angle and surface enlargement factor (the ratio of real

to projected surface area). Apart from geometry-dependent parameters, their correlation too has a Dittus and Boelter type. A more

theoretical approach to a generalized formula was taken by Martin

[35], and consequently Dovic et al. [36], in which existing formulas

for some basic geometries were combined together to derive an

equation suitable for plate heat exchangers. Flow in a straight conduit and ow in a 2D channel between two wavy plates were the

two basic geometries used in their approach. These geometries

were chosen because they were believed to represent main ow

patterns inside a plate heat exchanger. Such ideas are supported

by studies of ow patterns inside passages of plate heat exchangers

with corrugated plates. As an example, Focke et al. [37,38] found

different ow patterns in plate heat exchangers and argued that

the corrugation angle of the plate is the determining geometric

parameter. One can, as a general rule, conclude from all above

mentioned studies that the corrugation angle is, by far, the most

in a plate heat exchanger (narrow lines represent corrugation lines of the lower

plate).

plate heat exchangers.

A complete review of the literature reveals that none of the

existing correlations for heat transfer in plate heat exchangers is

proven to work where rates of change in thermophysical properties particularly density and specic heat are signicant, like

heat transfer of supercritical uids in the vicinity of pseudo-critical

temperature. The present experimental study is an attempt to ll

this gap in the literature and provide practical guidelines to be

used in applications with the possibility of occurrence of such a

condition.

2. Experiments

2.1. Test facility

Fig. 2b schematically shows the test facility used for this

experimental study. There were two loops, which formed the test

facility; the refrigerant loop or the main loop in which the working uid ows and the Glycol loop or heating loop in which

Ethylene Glycol ows. 98%-pure Peruoro-butane (Molecular formula: C4F10; CAS#: 355-25-9; critical pressure: 2.32 MPa; critical

temperature: 113.2 C) was used as the refrigerant in this study

due to its low critical pressure compatible with the available

equipment. This uid shows expected trends in thermophysical

properties near its critical point (see Fig. 3). The refrigerant and

Ethylene Glycol were circulated in their (separate) loops by

means of a positive displacement pump and a centrifugal pump,

respectively. Mass ow rate of the refrigerant was measured

using a Coriolis owmeter. Before the refrigerant is pumped, it

had to be depressurized. This was done by means of an adjustable

pressure-reduction regulator. The refrigerant cooled down in a

cooler, in which water at ambient temperature was used as the

coolant. A regenerator is added to the refrigerant loop to provide

a suitable heat balance for desired temperatures. For both cooler

and regenerator, similar plate heat exchangers different from

the test heat exchanger described below were used. In order

to reduce the uctuations of mass ow rate, an accumulator lled

with compressed N2 was installed before the inlet of the refrigerant pump. This accumulator was also used to adjust the overall

volume of the refrigerant in different working conditions, to avoid

a need for recharging the loop each time. It was, in particular,

necessary because of the strong sensibility of density to temperature for supercritical working uids leading to dramatic change

in the volume once heating temperature was changed. A

costume-designed electrical oil heater was used to heat up

Ethylene Glycol to a controlled outlet temperature. The maximum

temperature of Ethylene Glycol was always kept below 180 C, in

order to avoid boiling.

The main part of the test loop was the test heat exchanger

(THE), in which the refrigerant received heat from hot Ethylene

Glycol owing in the heating loop. Two commercial brazed plate

heat exchangers, only different in their corrugation angle, were

used in turn as THEs, both of which similarly consist of 10 plates

forming 9 passages (5 in hot side and 4 in cold side). THE was installed in the loop so that the mean ow direction was vertical. The

specications of THEs are presented in Table 1. At all four ports of

the THE, temperatures were measured using four RTDs with Pt100

elements. Pressure was also measured at both inlet and outlet of

refrigerant side using high-accuracy pressure transducers with 0

3 MPa range and accuracy of 0.15%. THE and all connecting pipes

between the measurement spots were thermally insulated using

glass-ber wraps (with a thickness of at least 5 mm) in order to

avoid any heat loss and unwanted heat transfer that might affect

the results.

P. Forooghi, K. Hooman / International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer 74 (2014) 448459

451

Table 1

Specication of test heat exchangers.

Corrugation angle

Number of plates (including end plates)

Total heat transfer area

Cross section area (cold/hot)

Plate spacing

Plate material

Passage hydraulic diameter

Maximum working pressure

Maximum /minimum working temperature

As mentioned before, two plate heat exchangers (with corrugation angles of 30 and 60) were used as THEs. For each, three

30, 60

10

0.226 m2

8.64/10.8 104 m2

2 mm

SS316

3.2 mm

4.5 MPa

100/150 C

were studied (see Table 2 for a summary of all six cases). In each

case, refrigerant mass-ow-rate and Ethylene Glycol temperature

varied to create a range of working conditions. Each working condition leads to one data point in the experiments. Ethylene Glycol

mass-ow-rate was constant for all data points within one case,

and, in general, this variable was set to be considerably larger than

that of refrigerant. It guarantees the convective thermal resistance

of the refrigerant side to be the dominant one, thus the overall heat

transfer coefcient of THE would be mainly sensitive to changes in

the refrigerant side, which was the purpose of this study. It also

leads for the hot stream temperature range to be considerably

smaller than that of the cold stream. Pressure of the main

loop was measured at both ends of THE and was controlled by

452

P. Forooghi, K. Hooman / International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer 74 (2014) 448459

Table 2

Flow arrangement and directions in different cases.

b

Case

Flow arrangement

Direction of refrigerant

30

I

II

III

Parallel-ow

Parallel-ow

Counter-ow

Upward

Downward

Upward

0.19

1.1

1.27

60

IV

V

VI

Parallel-ow

Parallel-ow

Counter-ow

Downward

Upward

Upward

1.3

0.17

1.38

its value remains constant during measurements of one data point.

The pressure variations during the whole experiment were also

slight; the working pressure was 2.55 0.1 MPa for all points.

The pressure drop through heat exchanger found to be negligible.

Totally, 90 data points were recorded in all six cases. For every data

point, data logging started after the system reached a steady state

condition, i.e. no time-dependency in the measured quantities was

observed except for random uctuations. The total duration of data

collection for each data point was a few times more than the time

it takes for the system to reach steady state. During the data collection time of every single data point, numerous measurements (at

least 100) were made to reduce the uncertainty due to uctuations

as will be further discussed in the error analysis section. A

summary of working conditions during the whole experiments is

presented in Table 3.

For each data point, total heat transfer rate of THE is determined

using the rst law of thermodynamics from the measured refrigerant mass-ow-rate as well as inlet and outlet enthalpies (as

functions of temperatures):

_ R hout hin R :

Q exp m

be found from Q(exp) and the measured temperatures at four ports

of the heat exchanger:

exp

Q exp

:

AHT DT mean

whole heat transfer surface area;

UxdA=AHT ;

AHT

inverse-linearly proportional to the overall thermal resistance (dened as the of summation of convective thermal resistances of both

refrigerant and Ethylene Glycol sides plus conductive thermal resistance of the plate), i.e.;

Ux

1

:

1=HTCR x 1=HTCG x 2 =kplate

Table 3

Working conditions of test loop.

Main loop

High pressure (THEa working pressure)

Low pressure

Mass-ow-rate

THE inlet temperature

THE outlet temperature

2.452.65 MPa

<0.35 MPa

0.020.1 kg/s

3075 C

84128 C

Heating loop

Maximum temperature (THE inlet)

Mass-ow-rate

Heating power

120160 C

0.171.38 kg/s

<10 kW

Obviously, only U can be directly determined from the experimental data. Precisely speaking, convective heat transfer coefcients

(HTCs) can vary in both directions (on a plate), but in this paper,

they are considered only variable in the ow direction (x), which

can be considered a 1D analysis.

In Eq. (3), DTmean is the mean temperature difference of the two

streams in the heat exchanger. Assuming 1D variation in temperatures, it can be shown that

DT mean

DT 2 DT 1

R

DT 2

1=TC R 1=TC G

dlnDT

DT 1 1=TC R 1=TC G

where subscripts 1 and 2 refer to the two ends of the heat exchanger and negative and positive signs must be used for parallel- and

counter-ow, respectively. TC stands for thermal capacity, which

is determined as

_ CP :

TC m

thermal capacities are, in general, temperature-dependent. TCR

and TCG in Eq. (6) are local values. The average values of thermal

capacity TC R and TC G can be directly found from the following

formula:

TC m

The integral in Eq. (6) can be found merely with knowledge of the

port temperatures. It is possible because CP is only a function of

temperature for every uid (when the variation of pressure is not

dramatic). Temperature of each uid can be found from that of

the other uid, at every point, through rst law of thermodynamics.

As a result, the whole integrant can be stated as a function of one

variable (temperature) only if the variation of CP with temperature

is known. Therefore, it is possible to calculate DTmean directly from

the experimental data.

Eq. (6) can be reduced to the well-known log-mean-temperature-difference (LMTD) formula, if CR and CG are not variable, which

is not the case here, especially for the refrigerant. Ease of use of

LMTD formula, however, may be tempting to use it instead of the

above approach, which requires some extra effort for numerical

integration. To obtain an idea about how much error the simplied

approach might introduce to the analysis, separate calculations

have been done for all data points using both approaches and the

results are presented for the percentage of error for LMTD

approach in Fig. 4. It is observed that the error is not negligible

especially when the temperature of refrigerant tends to the pseudo-critical temperature, where rate of variation in specic heat is

intensied.

All physical properties in this study were determined based on

NIST database using REFPROP software [39].

2.3. Error analysis

Error analysis in this study is based on the well-established

multiple-sample analysis approach presented in [40]. The overall

uncertainty of a quantity is equal to root-sum-square combination

P. Forooghi, K. Hooman / International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer 74 (2014) 448459

453

Based on manufacturers specication, the instrument error for

the Coriolis owmeter is 0.1% of the absolute measured value.

However at the beginning, some severe uctuations were

observed in the measurement of mass-ow-rate. The uctuations

were reduced to some degree by minimizing the vibrations in the

system. In the main experiments, the uctuations varied from

point to point, with standard deviation being always less than

7%. The remaining uctuations possibly originate in the function

of the reciprocal positive displacement pump. Fixed error combined with the uctuations was used into determine the total

uncertainty in mass-ow-rate for each data point. The biggest

obtained value of uncertainty for a data point was 1.5% of the

absolute value.

of refrigerant outlet temperature.

of uncertainties due to all sources of error.1 The contribution of random uncertainties, however, can be reduced to a high extent by

using the mean value out of an increased number of independent

measurements. As mentioned before, for each data point, more than

100 measurements have been made to reduce this contribution as

far as possible. Accordingpto

Moffat [40], uncertainty due to random

errors is equal to t S= N where S is standard deviation of all

measurements and N is the number of measurements. t is Students

multiplier, which is approximately 2 for N > 60.

As explained before, there are two types of measured quantities

in the present study: mass-ow-rate and temperature. All

uncertainties introduced to the experiments necessarily stem from

errors in the measurements these two quantities.

The RTDs used for measuring temperatures have been already

calibrated with tolerance of 0.35 C. This can be regarded as the

xed component of the instrument error for all measurements

through the course of experiments. Fixed errors due to system

may be caused by numerous factors. Attempts has been made to

eliminate all of them as much as possible; the test heat exchangers

and all pipes in between temperature sensors were insulated to

prevent any unwanted heat transfer in thermocouples or any heat

loss. Besides, RTDs are placed as close to the heat exchangers ports

as possible. Another source of xed error could be temperature

variation at different point of a cross-section where the measurement takes place. This error was ruled out by doing an auxiliary

experiment in which the intrusion of RTD is changed a few times;

no systematic error was observed in this auxiliary experiment.

Random errors in temperature measurement can be simply

determined for every data point based on the observed scatter in

the measurements. This scatter varied from one data point to another, but the standard deviation was always smaller than 0.1 C.

Combining this with the instrument error mentioned above with

an assumption that the xed errors due to system are negligible

the overall uncertainty in temperature measurements would be

less than 0.4 C.

1

probability (20 to 1 odds in favor of the real value being within the specied interval).

As explained in the previous section, Q(exp) and U exp are calculated based on the measured values of temperature and massow-rate. In order to evaluate the uncertainty in each calculated

variable, it is necessary to determine its sensitivity to all measured variables rst. The values of sensitivity are equal to partial

derivative of the calculated variable with respect to the measured

variable. They are straightforward to obtain from the equations

already presented except for DTmean, for which computerized

analysis introduced in [40] was employed. Once the sensitivity

is known, the uncertainties in Q(exp) and U exp can be determined

based on uncertainties in the measured values of temperature

and mass-ow-rate, which were already discussed. For each

point, the analysis is based on all measurements for that data

point.

It must be mentioned here that the errors which are xed during measurements of a single data point may have a variable part

when different data points are taken into account since for recording every new data point, changes had to be made to the test facility. Fixed errors of the instrument may vary when the value of the

actual measurable quantity changes. On the other hand, it is possible that system errors, which are xed for one data point, vary

from one data point to another. Note that six different cases have

been studied, for each of which parts of pipe work and insulation

should have been be redone. Moreover, variables such as pump frequency, accumulator pressure and heater outlet temperature were

different in different data points. These variable parts of xed errors, if exist, cannot be smoothed out by averaging among the

measurements of a single data point. Therefore, if a variable has

to be calculated based on various data points, some data scatter

may arise. This issue will be further discussed in the next section.

3. Results and discussion

3.1. Test results

Fig. 5 presents the values of heat transfer rate (Q(exp)) plotted

against refrigerant mass-ow-rate for all data points, distinguished

by the case numbers. For all cases, Q(exp) increases monotonically

with mass-ow-rate. It must be mentioned that inlet temperatures

of refrigerant and Ethylene Glycol are not identical for different

points. According to Fig. 5, no big difference is observed between

cases with parallel- and counter-ow arrangements; it is reasonable since, as mentioned before, the hot stream temperature is almost constant, compared to that of the cold stream.

Fig. 6 presents the obtained values of overall heat transfer coefcient U exp for all data points, plotted against average Reynolds

number dened as

Re

G dh

lb

454

P. Forooghi, K. Hooman / International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer 74 (2014) 448459

Fig. 5. Heat transfer power plotted against refrigerant mass-ow-rate for both test heat exchangers. Error bars indicate on 20 to 1 uncertainty interval.

Fig. 6. Overall heat transfer coefcient plotted against refrigerant average Reynolds number for both test heat exchangers. Error bars indicate on 20 to 1 uncertainty interval.

area) and dh is the hydraulic diameter of the passage. The average

Reynolds number is obtained by averaging among local values of

Reynolds number obtained from a 1D analysis which will be

explained later.

Although, as expected, U exp shows a generally increasing trend

with Reynolds number, a big deal of irregularity is also observed

for both heat exchangers. It is, as already discussed, believed to

be due to the strong dependence of physical properties on temperature. As such, a detailed investigation is called for.

As discussed in the introduction, heat transfer correlations of

Dittus and Boelter type are widely used for PTHEs. Similarly, in this

study a correlation of the same type is used, i.e.

ant side, which is the dominant side in terms of heat transfer resistance. Therefore, either a 0D approach must be used in which some

averaging practice is required or a 1D one, which accounts for the

variation of temperature, and thereby variations of other parameters. The former approach would lead to some extra uncertainty

in the results, in spite of its simplicity. Therefore, the latter approach was chosen for this study, for which the following heat balance equation was numerically solved for both refrigerant and

Ethylene Glycol streams in the entire heat transfer surface area:

Nu C Ren Pr m :

Refrigerant ow direction is always assumed positive, so the sign

for Ethylene Glycol is positive and negative for parallel- and counter-ow, respectively. Here, x0,f denotes the inlet position, which

is always zero for f = R; for f = G it is zero or L for parallel- and counter-ow arrangements, respectively. The equations of the two

streams are coupled by heat transfer term in the right hand side. Local heat transfer coefcient, U(x), can be found from Eq. (5), in

which:

10

correlation cannot satisfactorily reect the physics of the problem;

then the idea of using a correction factor of Jackson and Hall type

emerges, i.e. correcting Nusselt number from Eq. (10) using wall

temperature correction factor from Eq. (1). The result would be

Nu C Ren Pr m

ep

C

C p;b

!a1

qw

qb

a2

:

11

values of 0.5 and 0.3 are used for a1 and a2 in the present study.

If one wishes to use a correlation of above types, it must be noted

that Reynolds and Prandtl numbers as well as the property ratios

vary considerably along the heat exchanger, at least for the refriger-

_ f C P;f

m

dT f

Ux T f x T f 0 x;

dx

0

f ; f R; G; f f 0 ; T f x0;f T f ;in ;

HTCf x Nuf x

kb;f

:

dh

12

13

Eq. (10) or Eq. (11) depending on which type of correlation is being

examined. Since both sides of the heat exchanger are identical,

455

P. Forooghi, K. Hooman / International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer 74 (2014) 448459

mentioning that, the convective thermal resistance of the refrigerant side, has always been found to be at least an order of magnitude

larger than the other two thermal resistances, and, in general, U

could be suitably approximated by HTCR. Obviously, all thermophysical properties appearing in the solution are functions of local

temperatures.

In order to solve Eq. (12), heat transfer surface area have been

one-dimensionally discretized using 500 grid points, which guarantees mesh independence with less than 0.01% error when compared to results obtained on a 1000 grid points. First order

forward difference scheme was used for the temperature derivative and a time-marching iterative method was adopted by adding

an articial transient term to the left hand side of the equation. The

validity of the solution was checked in comparison with the analytical expression for mean temperature difference (Eq. (6)). The nal

results are also in a reasonable agreement with other correlations

available in the literature as will be discussed later.

The parameters n, m and C were found by minimizing a target

function total deviation of the correlation from experimental

data, which is straightforward apart from the fact that a differential

equation had to be solved rather than calculating an algebraic

expression for heat transfer coefcient.

[31]. This is quite satisfactory noting the difference between available experimental results in the literature obtained for different

heat exchangers. Furthermore, the present correlation, although

obtained for a different working uid from those of other works,

matches well with other correlations, which is an approval of the

generic nature of our analysis.

In order to investigate the wall temperature correction, it is necessary to compare the scattering intervals of both correlations with

regards to experimental data. To do that, for every data point, the

value of constant C, which exactly leads to the experimental heat

transfer coefcient U exp for that point, is obtained. Obviously,

the value of C reported in Table 4, for either WC or NWC case,

should be the mean of all single-data-point values of C for that

case. To distinguish between mean and single-data-point C, respectively, subscripts mean and i are used:

PN

C mean

Optimum values for (n, m) were found to be almost the same for

both not wall temperature corrected (NWC) and wall temperature corrected (WC) correlations, i.e. Eqs. (10) and (11), respectively. These values are (0.74, 0.35) for b = 30 and (0.71, 0.35) for

b = 60. The value of constant C is however different for the two

correlations being 0.09 (WC) and 0.076 (NWC) for b = 30 and

0.187 (WC) and 0.165 (NWC) for b = 60. A summary of the parameters is presented along with the values reported by other experimentalists in Table 4. To better compare the present correlation

with other correlations their predicted variation of Nusselt number

with Reynolds number are plotted all in the same graph (Fig. 7). A

constant Prandtl number equal to 3.6, which is the average refrigerant Prandtl number for the present study, was used in these

graphs. Both WC and NWC cases were shown in Fig. 7; since the

other works do not account for any wall-to-bulk ratio of density

and/or specic heat, the points for WC correlation in these graphs

are calculated by neglecting the correction factors in Eq. (11), i.e.

a1

a

eC

qw 2

equating C p

with unity. The prediction of WC case lies

q

p;b

perfectly within those of other correlations, while for NWC correlation, some underestimation is observed. Considering WC to be

the correct correlation (this issue will be discussed in depth later),

the present results are in best agreement with those of Okada et al.

Ci

14

transfer coefcient obtained in experiments to that predicted by

the correlation, or

Ci

C mean

U exp

:

U corr i

15

In Fig. 8, all values of Ci obtained using both WC and NWC correlations are presented. Ideally, there must be no scatter in these values. It would be the case if an ideal correlation was used, i.e. a

correlation that captures the physics of the problem in full details.

In this sense, the scatter in Fig. 8 could be considered a result of

conceptual error. There is yet another possible source of data scatter in Fig. 8 which could be the result of what addressed in the error

analysis section as the variable part of xed errors. Although care

has been taken to block any source of xed error, except for the

inevitable instrument error, it is always possible that unknown error sources emerge during the experiment. Such an error, if exists,

however, must be almost the same for both heat exchangers since

the whole experimental procedure is exactly similar for all cases

presented in Table 2. Therefore, any difference in the amount of

scatter for the two heat exchangers can only be due to the conceptual error not experimental error.

It is observed in Fig. 8 that, for b = 60, the standard deviation of

data scatter can be signicantly reduced from 12.6% to 4.6% by

including wall temperature correction. For b = 30, however, the

reduction is from 11.4% to 9.7%, which can hardly be called a meaningful improvement. In view of the above, one may argue that

using a heat transfer correlation, which accounts for wall-to-bulk

property variations, can bring about better results for b = 60 and

not for b = 30. This deduction will be further investigated in the

following paragraphs.

Table 4

Correlation parameters; comparison of the present results with other reports.

b

Reference

30

Kumar [84]

Muley and Manglik [99]

Okada et al. [72]

Thonon [95]

Present

WC

NWC

0.108

0.109

0.157

0.2267

0.090

0.076

0.703

0.703

0.66

0.631

0.74

0.33

0.33

0.4

0.33

0.35

WC

NWC

0.348

0.098

0.327

0.2946

0.187

0.165

0.663

0.782

0.65

0.700

0.71

0.33

0.33

0.4

0.33

0.35

60

Kumar [84]

Muley and Manglik [99]

Okada et al. [72]

Thonon [95]

Present

456

P. Forooghi, K. Hooman / International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer 74 (2014) 448459

Fig. 7. Comparison of the present correlation for Nusselt number with other works for both corrugation angles in the studied range of Reynolds number.

Fig. 8. Scattering of experimental C constant obtained from no wall corrected (up) and wall corrected (down) correlations. For each case, data are plotted against both

refrigerant average Reynolds number and Prandtl number.

and Prandtl numbers to observe no signicant dependency. A

signicant trend, however, can be found when data points are

plotted against a third variable, which is the value of wall

appearing on abscissa in this gure is the effective value of wall

temperature correction applied in each data point, which was

calculated as

P. Forooghi, K. Hooman / International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer 74 (2014) 448459

457

Fig. 9. Experimental C constant obtained from no wall corrected (left) and wall corrected (right) correlations plotted against effective wall temperature correction factor.

R

CF

AHT

Ren Prm

R

AHT

eC p

C p;b

a1

a2

Ren Pr m

qw

qb

16

In fact, CF measures how much, for each data point, heat transfer

coefcient is corrected because of wall-to-bulk property ratios. It

is clearly observed that, in NWC case, the value of constant C is proportional to CF. For both corrugation angles b = 30, 60, the numerical value of the slope is of the order of magnitude of one although

the trend line is somewhat steeper for b = 60. Comparing WC and

NWC results, it can be argued that, when the employed heat transfer correlation does not include the required correction due to wallto-bulk property ratio (NWC), the required correction emerges in

the value of Ci. In other word, there is a physical variable on which

the heat transfer coefcient depends but is not accounted for by the

heat transfer coefcient. For WC case, i.e. with a correlation of type

Eq. (11), this dependence is already accounted for, so C shows no

dependence on CF. It is observed that the trend lines in the right

hand side picture are also not perfectly horizontal. This is most

probably because of the use of a simplied correction factor with

constant exponents. As mentioned in the introduction, there are

more elaborated correction equations available in the literature,

among which the right choice can be made depending on the

expected accuracy. The important nding of Fig. 9 is existence of

a dependence on wall-to-bulk property ratio, which can be satisfactorily eliminated by use of a right correction equation.

3.3. Effect of buoyancy

It was shown in the previous section that, for both plate geometries, use of a heat transfer correlation, which contains a wall

temperature correction expression can remove, to a satisfactory

extent, the dependency of error on the property ratios, which

would appear if a Dittus and Boelter type correlation was used.

However, as both Figs. 8 and 9 suggest, the amount of data scatter

is only reduced by this correction for b = 60 and not for b = 30.

When WC correlation is used, the experimental data scatters within around 20% of the mean value for b = 30 which is more than 10%

bigger than that of b = 60 (considering root sum square combination of uncertainties, the extra uncertainty is approximately 15%).

As explained in the previous section, this difference in the amount

of scatter should be a result of some conceptual error. It suggests

the existence of a physical effect for b = 30 which is absent in

b = 60. It was mentioned in the introduction that buoyancy can

be able to affect the heat transfer coefcient in supercritical uids

with similar density variations to that of this problem, and its

effect is also highly geometry-dependent.

Forooghi and Hooman [21,22], numerically investigated the possible effect of buoyancy on the ow patterns and heat transfer that

can arise in a plate heat exchanger. They estimated that, in an inclined conduit, the effect of buoyancy on turbulent heat transfer

is most severe around 50% in the worst scenario for c angles

smaller than 10, where c is the angle of the conduit with the vertical direction. This effect decays as c increases and is negligible

for c larger than 50. On the other hand, studies of ow pattern inside plate heat exchangers suggest that, for both b = 30 and 60, the

dominant regime of ow inside a plate heat exchanger is ow along

furrows, which can be regarded analogous to ow in conduits that

make an angle equal to b with the vertical direction [35,38]. Based

on this fact, the effect of buoyancy in the heat exchangers with

either b angle can be roughly estimated by what Forooghi and Hooman [21] reported for the same c angle. The result would be a negligible effect for b = 60 and one with around 15 to 20% inuence for

b = 30. The gures approximately match the value of extra data

scatter observed for b = 30 in the present study. It must be reminded that the buoyancy effect could be positive or negative

depending on the ow direction being downward or upward.

To better investigate the effect of buoyancy, values of Ci for all

data points, distinguished by the direction of ow, are plotted

against Richardson number in Fig. 10. For the test heat exchanger

with b = 60, all points are within approximately 10% of the mean

value. For the one with b = 30, one out of four to ve points lie out

of this accuracy interval, all of which belong to Richardson numbers higher than a certain threshold. For the latter heat exchanger,

data scattering generally increases with Richardson number.

Richardson number is widely used as a measure of buoyancy

forces relative to viscous forces. In this work it is dened as:

Ri

Gr

;

Re

Gr

qb qb qw g d3h

:

lb

17

of buoyancy, it is hard to identify a clear trend. It can be due to at

least two factors; rst, the range of Reynolds number chosen for this

study is very close to the laminarturbulence transition region. It is

generally hard, if possible, to dene a clear transition threshold in

the plate heat exchangers, mainly due to the complicated and multi-pattern nature of ow. Experiments of Focke et al., for example,

suggest ranges of 150 < Re < 600 for b = 60and 1000 < Re < 3000

for b = 30, none of which being clear-cut [38]. Hence, for the problem under consideration, probably some data points are in the transition regime, where the behavior of turbulent heat transfer is

considerably complicated and, as a matter of fact, all previous

works on supercritical uid ow considered fully turbulence ows.

458

P. Forooghi, K. Hooman / International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer 74 (2014) 448459

Fig. 10. Experimental C constant obtained from plotted against Richardson number.

the present experiments. In addition to that, even in the experiments dealing with straight pipes [14,16,41,42], similar scatter is

observed within the experimental points. In other words, the effect

of buoyancy on turbulent supercritical uid ows is in general one

with some inherent uncertainty.

It is worth mentioning that b = 60, is presently, by far, the most

widely used corrugation angles for plate heat exchangers, for

which one can comfortably ignore the effect of buoyancy; this is

most probably the case for all corrugation angles larger than 50.

For b = 30, the present data are enough to raise the concern of possible deviations from what one would expect using the available

correlations in the literature.

For corrugation angles smaller than 30 (including the case of

combined corrugation angle with one angle smaller than 30)

experimental proof is required; for this case numerical observations [21,22] suggest possibility of more severe deviations.

4. Conclusion

Experiments have been done on two plate-type heat exchangers

with corrugation angles of b = 30, 60 to investigate the performance of this type of heat exchangers in the working conditions

where density and specic heat both strongly depend on temperature, like in supercritical uids. The ranges of Reynolds and Prandtl

number are 8004200 and 3.24.2, respectively. It was found that:

In a PTHE, Whenever a working uid exchanges heat in conditions where the rates of variations of its thermophysical properties (specic heat and density) with temperature are high, it is

expected that heat transfer correlations not accounting for the

effect of wall-to-bulk property ratios (for example those of Dittus and Boelter type), fail to make satisfactory predictions. A

specic example of such uids is a supercritical uid in a pressure slightly larger than its critical pressure when either/both of

bulk or/and wall temperatures is/are close to the pseudo-critical

temperature.

To tackle the above mentioned problem, a two-component heat

transfer correlation is suggested: the rst component is the normal heat transfer correlation that would be used if thermophysical properties were constant. This correlation should, however,

be multiplied by a correction factor of Jackson and Hall type

(see Eq. (1)). The correlations found in this research are:

Nu 0:09 Re0:74 Pr 0:35

!0:5

ep

qw 0:3

C

; b 60 ;

C p;b

qb

!0:5

ep

qw 0:3

C

; b 30 ;

C p;b

qb

but any other correlation obtained through the above two-component approach can bring about satisfactory results. This idea

can be, in particular, useful because a specic correlation developed for a specic design may work the best for that design.

For a plate heat exchanger with corrugation angle of 30 there

might be up to 20% deviation in results due to the effect of

buoyancy. For the corrugation angle of 60 the buoyancy effects

are negligible.

Conict of interest

None declared.

Acknowledgments

This research paper was made possible through substantial

technical support from Mr Jason Czapla. Authors would also like

to appreciate help from staff of the School of Mechanical and

Mining Engineering Workshops in University of Queensland, in

particular, safety ofcer, Mr Hugh Russell.

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