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Title: Optimisation gas coolers for CO2 refrigeration application
Authors: Santosa, I Dewe
Advisors: Tassou, S
Keywords: Carbon dioxide refrigerant;CFD modelling for gas coolers;Heat transfer coefficient of gas coolers;Supercritical refrigeration system;Slit fin
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Brunel University London
Abstract: Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a natural, low cost refrigerant with good thermo-physical properties. CO2 is a good alternative for replacing HFC refrigerants that possess high global warming potential and reducing the direct impacts of refrigeration systems on the environment. However, CO2 refrigeration systems operate at relatively high condenser/gas cooler pressures and this imposes special design and control considerations. The gas cooler is a very important part of the system and can have significant influence on its performance. In sub-critical operation, good gas cooler/condenser design can reduce the condenser pressure and delay switching to supercritical operation which increases system efficiency. In supercritical operation optimum design and control can enable the system to operate at pressures that maximise system efficiency. In air cooled systems, gas coolers/condensers are of the finned-tube type. This type of heat exchanger is well established in the HVAC and refrigeration industries. The large changes in the CO2 properties in the gas cooler, however, during supercritical operation impose special design and manufacturing considerations. This research project considered the influence of the unique heat transfer characteristics of CO2 on the design and performance of finned tube air cooled condensers/gas coolers for CO2 refrigeration applications. A combined experimental and modelling approach using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) was employed. A CO2 condenser/gas cooler test facility was developed for the experimental investigations. The facility employs a ‘booster’ hot gas bypass CO2 refrigeration system, with associated condenser/gas cooler test rig and evaporator load simulation facility. A series of experimental tests were carried out with two gas coolers which incorporated horizontal and horizontal-vertical slit fins and was obtained adequate experimental data concerning gas cooler performance. CFD modelling was used to study the performance of the gas coolers. The model was validated against test results and was shown to predict the air outlet temperature and heat rejection of the gas cooler with an accuracy of within ±5%. The model was subsequently used to evaluate the effect of a fin slit between the 1st and 2nd row of tubes of the gas cooler as well as a vertical slit on the 1st row before the last tube of the section. The results showed a 6%-8% increase in the heat rejection rate of the gas cooler compared to the performance without the horizontal slit. The vertical slit in the fin of the last tube has resulted in an additional increase in heat rejection over and above that for the horizontal slit of 1%-2%. CFD modelling was also used to investigate the variation of the refrigerant side, air side and overall heat transfer coefficient along the heat exchanger. The results showed that the refrigerant heat transfer coefficient increases with the decreasing of bulk refrigerant temperature and reaches its maximum when the specific heat of the refrigerant is highest. Furthermore, increasing the refrigerant mass flux, increases the refrigerant side heat transfer coefficient and heat rejection. This can reduce the size of the gas cooler for a given capacity at the expense of higher pressure drop and compressor power consumption. Air side and overall heat transfer coefficient correlations were developed for the specific gas cooler designs which were investigated and showed the heat transfer coefficients increase with increasing Reynolds Number.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the award of Doctor of Philosophy and was awarded by Brunel University London
Appears in Collections:Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Dept of Mechanical Aerospace and Civil Engineering Theses

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