Tube-in-tube heat exchangers are commonly used in many applications and are generally operated in a counterflow configuration. Unfortunately, existing correlations developed for heat transfer and pressure drop predictions for the outer annular flow passage have been found to sometimes produce large discrepancies between them.
In this experimental study research was performed to obtain experimental data with the lowest possible uncertainties associated with it in order to validate existing correlations and to identify the core aspects that influence the heat transfer and pressure drop characteristics in annular flow passages that have neither uniform wall temperatures nor uniform wall heat fluxes. Focus was placed on the turbulent flow regime and temperature and pressure drop measurements were taken at different fluid velocities, annular diameter ratios, and inlet temperature of water.
Four horizontal test sections with annular diameter ratios of 0.327, 0.386, 0.409 and 0.483 and hydraulic diameter of 17.00, 22.98, 20.20 and 26.18 respectively were constructed from hard drawn copper tubes. The test sections were equipped with industry standard inlet and outlet configurations and had pressure drop lengths of between 5.02 m and 5.03 m and heat transfer lengths of between 5.06 m and 5.10 m. This resulted in length to hydraulic diameter ratios of between 194 and 300. A wide range of annular flow rates were considered and Reynolds numbers ranges from 15 000 to 45 000 were covered for both heated and cooled annulus operating conditions. Specific attention was given to the influence of the inlet fluid temperature. For heated annulus cases an inlet temperature range of 10°C to 30°C was covered, while for cooled annulus cases an inlet temperature range of 30°C to 50°C was covered.
Since one of the main focuses of the study was to provide accurate temperature measurement, especially local wall temperature measurements of the inner tube, an in-situ calibration technique of the wall thermocouples were used. This enabled continuous verification of the measurement accuracy and allowed re-evaluation of readings.
Based on the processed experimental results, it was found that the direction of heat transfer did not affect the average heat transfer coefficient across the inner tube wall. Longitudinal local heat transfer coefficients were found to not be constant along the test section length, but continually decreased towards the annulus outlet, indicating undeveloped thermal flow. Heated annuli had a larger average heat transfer coefficients compared to cooled annuli at similar Reynolds numbers. This can be attributed to a dependency on fluid properties, which were less at higher bulk temperatures. Analysis showed although both had about the same local Nusselt numbers at the exit region, the heated annuli had much larger Nusselt numbers at the entrance region of the test section. The friction factor was mostly affected by the fluid velocity, but at low velocities higher friction factors were detected when inlet temperatures were lower.
For the data sets considered in this study, the average Nusselt number and the Colburn j-factor decreased somewhat with increase in annular diameter ratio. It seemed that the friction factor was also not influenced by the annular diameter ratio.
Dissertation (MEng)--University of Pretoria, 2017.