Shell-side boiling of water at sub-atmospheric pressures

D. A. McNeil, B. M. Burnside, D. I. Rylatt, E. A. Elsaye, S. Baker

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Abstract

Experimental data are reported for water boiling at pressures of 850 and 50 mbar absolute on the shell-side of a model industrial boiler slice. The boiler test section was 1 m high, 0.75 m wide and contained 36 electrically heated tubes. The tubes were 28.5 mm in diameter and 98 mm long. The design of the boiler ensured that the tubes were submerged in a liquid pool. The height of the liquid pool could be varied. The pool height was set to approximately 0.8 m for the tests carried out at a pressure of 850 mbar, submerging the top of the tube bundle by about 200 mm. Two pool heights were used in the tests carried out at a pressure of 50 mbar, one at approximately 0.8 m and another at approximately 2 m. The later submerged the top of the tube bundle by about 1.6 m. The heat flux was varied within the range 10-70 kW/m2. A near-symmetrical half of the tube bundle contained wall thermocouples. An additional 29 thermocouples were located throughout the liquid pool. The liquid temperature in the pool was found to be reasonably uniform and controlled by the pressure at the free surface. This led to a small amount of subcooling at a pressure of 850 mbar, up to 3 K, and a significant amount of subcooling at a pressure of 50 mbar, up to 16 K for the smaller pool height and up to 31 K for the larger pool height. The reasonably uniform pool temperature suggests that the liquid re-circulates within it. Boiling was found to occur at all heat fluxes at a pressure of 850 mbar, with the measured heat-transfer coefficients shown to be in broad agreement with nucleate boiling correlations available in the open literature. However, they were also consistent with a flow boiling process involving natural convection and nucleation, where the convection was driven by variations in liquid temperature on the walls of the tubes. This natural convection relies on an interaction between the tubes that produces mass fluxes in the range 46-87 kg/m2 s, based on the approach area to the tube bundle. Boiling occurred only at the higher heat fluxes during the low level tests at a pressure of 50 mbar, with interactive natural convection being the dominant heat-transfer mechanism. The mass fluxes produced were in the range 28-70 kg/m2 s. Boiling also occurred only at the higher heat fluxes during the high level tests at a pressure of 50 mbar. However, the convective heat transfer was more compatible with little interaction between the tubes, although some evidence suggests that the evaporator oscillates between interactive and isolated tube behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)488-504
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer
Volume85
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015

Keywords

  • Boiling
  • Low pressure
  • Shell-side
  • Two-phase flow

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