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Development and validation of a condenser three zones model.

Author(s) : CUEVAS C., LEBRUN J., LEMORT V., et al.

Type of article: Article


A general and simple "deterministic" model of a refrigeration condenser is presented. The model assumes that the condenser can be divided into three distinct zones on the refrigerant side: the vapour de-superheating zone, the two-phase zone and the sub-cooled liquid zone. The model inputs are the air supply temperature, the air mass flow rate, the refrigerant supply temperature (or the over-heating), the exhaust sub-cooling and the refrigerant mass flow rate. The model is able to identify the pressures and temperatures in each zone and the corresponding heat flows. The model also gives the geometrical repartition among the zones and the pressure drop on air-side. The condenser model is validated with a total of 183 tests. Testing conditions cover a very wide domain, including pressures up to 40 bars with refrigerant R134a. The model is able to predict with a probability of 95% the condenser supply pressure within a confidence interval of +0.5 and -0.1 bar. This means a condenser power confidence interval within -200 and +100 W, which is considered here as acceptable. Refrigerant pressure drop is predicted with a higher error, but it is attributed to measuring uncertainty. On the other hand, air pressure drop is predicted with a very poor accuracy. Undoubtedly, this is due to the friction factor correlation used in this study which is not the most adequate. Here a difference of 40% is obtained. [Reprinted with permission from Elsevier. Copyright, 2009].



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