Paper presented at the 9th International Conference on Heat Transfer, Fluid Mechanics and Thermodynamics, Malta, 16-18 July, 2012.
This paper aims at presenting the latest scientific progress on two-phase flow in singularities through academic research at INSA Lyon as well as proposing some future possible important issues to be investigated. Flow regimes of third- and fourth-generation refrigerants in horizontal and vertical return bends as well as in a horizontal sudden contraction were experimentally investigated. The dynamical behavior of vapor bubbles or slugs in vertical downward flow return bend was reported. A simplified analysis of the forces acting on the bubble was proposed to better understand the vapour trajectory. Furthermore, void fraction was measured along the sudden contraction using an image analysis technique, which gives very original results. Such experimental studies also brought to the fore the upstream and downstream flow disturbances caused by such singularities as contractions and return bends and their impact on the hydrodynamic performance (e.g. pressure drop) of refrigerants. Especially, these disturbances can be analysed in terms of perturbation lengths up- and downstream of the singularities. Lastly, large pressure drop databases for R-410A, R-134a and HFO-1234yf were obtained. Experimental values of pressure drops in singularities were compared against different prediction methods from the literature without any satisfactory results. Finally, these databases were used to develop new twophase pressure drop prediction methods for such singularities as return bends and sudden contractions.