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journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/ijhmt

outside vertical tube with nanouids

Liu Yang a,b,, Kai Du a,b, Xiaofeng Niu c, Yuan Zhang b, Yanjun Li b

a

Key Laboratory of Energy Thermal Conversion and Control of Ministry of Education, Southeast University, Nanjing 210096, China

School of Energy and Environment, Southeast University, Nanjing 210096, China

c

College of Urban Construction and Safety Engineering, Nanjing University of Technology, Nanjing 210009, China

b

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Article history:

Received 24 August 2013

Received in revised form 4 August 2014

Accepted 6 August 2014

Available online 27 August 2014

Keywords:

Ammonia water

Numerical

Falling-lm absorption

Nanouid

a b s t r a c t

In the last years the ammonia-water refrigeration cycle has been gradually improved by using nanouid

technology. In this work, a numerical model for the absorption of ammonia on a falling lm was developed for different ammonia-water mixtures containing nanoparticles and dispersants. The variation of

both falling lm thickness and physical properties of the mixture were considered to nd the best tting

model. Results show that when absorption pressure decreases or when initial concentration of mixture

increases, the relative intensity of effect on absorption rate is weakened by the variation of thermal

conductivity but enhanced by the variation of mass transfer coefcients and ow resistance, while the

variation of mixtures viscosity exhibits very low effect. When the results are compared to similar experimental data for the ammonia falling lm absorption with nanouids, it was found that the heat and mass

transfer are mainly affected by the lm drag reduction and its physical properties. The numerical model

obtained can be used for calculating the absorption rate of ammonia-water-nanouid mixtures with

acceptable accuracy, since 87% of relative errors are lower than 20%.

2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction

Ammonia water absorption refrigerators have recaptured scientists attention due to the phenomenon of global warming and

ozone depletion. However, the performance of the absorption cycle

needs to be improved because it is lower than the performance of

the vapor compression refrigeration system. Since the size and performance of the absorber can signicantly impact on the systems

overall performance, the latest research have focused on the

absorption enhancement unit. Generally, there are three methods

to enhance the efciency of heat and mass transfer of absorbers:

the mechanical treatment, the chemical treatment, and nanotechnology [1].

A nanouid is dened as a liquid suspension of particles whose

diameter are smaller than 100 nm. As a result of the limitation of

heat transfer in a working uid, solid particles are dispersed

throughout it to improve its thermal properties as well as its heat

transfer coefcient. In recent years, nanouids have been gradually

used as engineering uids because of their superior performance

Corresponding author at: Key Laboratory of Energy Thermal Conversion and

Control of Ministry of Education, Southeast University, Nanjing 210096, China. Tel.:

+86 25 83793214.

E-mail address: windy4ever@163.com (L. Yang).

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijheatmasstransfer.2014.08.016

0017-9310/ 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

[710] and boiling heat transfer [1116]. Recently, the nanouids

applied in ammonia water absorption refrigeration system have

involved Cu, CuO [17], CNTs [18], Ag [19], Fe2O3, ZnFe2O4 [20],

Al2O3 [21], and even nano emulsier [22]. The performances of

those kinds of nanouids on absorbing ammonia were investigated

for bubble or falling lm absorption, and the results are

satisfactory.

According to the research results of Kang et al. [23], the mass

transfer coefcients has greater effect on systems performance

running in bubble mode than that in falling lm mode. Besides

this, the heat transfer coefcients have more signicant effects

on heat exchanger size (absorption rate) in the falling lm mode

than in the bubble mode. The uid ow and heat transfer aspects

of nanouids have been studied by many researchers. However,

the researches on absorption process of ammonia by nanouids

are relatively decient. A few existing literatures are mainly

focused on the experimental studies with a predominating portion

of bubble absorption type. A latest theoretical study on ammonia

bubble absorption of nanouids has been just found [18]. Nevertheless, to the authors best knowledge, the theoretical study on

ammonia falling lm absorption of nanouids has not been found.

For this reason, there is a great need of theoretical research on

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L. Yang et al. / International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer 79 (2014) 241250

Nomenclature

u

v

g

Cp

Dm

T

P

K

mab

Dhab

M

S

Re

Sc

lm velocity in the direction of lm thickness, m s1

gravity acceleration, m s2

constant-pressure specic heat, kJ kg1 K1

diffusion coefcient, m2 s

temperature, C

absorption pressure, MPa

mass transfer coefcient

absorption amount in the interface of the control volume in unit time, kg s1

heat of absorbing unit mass of ammonia gas, kJ kg1

gross absorption in unit time, g s1

mass transfer interface area of falling lm, m2

Reynolds number

Schmidt number

Greek letters

q

density, kg m3

C

ow rate, m3 s1

n

mass concentration of uid, %

d

lm thickness, mm

k

thermal conductivity, W (m K)1

g

dynamic viscosity, Pa s

obtain the main variables of ammonia-water nanouid falling lm

absorption. In this work, a numerical model for an ammoniawater-nanoparticles falling lm absorption outside vertical tube

was developed. The variation of falling lm thickness along the

tube and the changes in physical properties of ammonia-water

mixture was considered when adding nanoparticles and dispersants. The inuence of physical properties of nanouids over the

efciency of ammonia-water absorption is studied in detail.

Finally, the numerical results were compared with experimental

data. It is expected that this study brings some basic ideas that help

to understand how mixtures physical properties affect on the heat

and mass transfer coefcients in the absorption process and also to

establish some theoretical foundation for further research on the

application of nanouids.

s

m

kinematic viscosity, m2 s1

Super/subscripts

i

vaporliquid interface

in

inlet of falling lm

w

cooling water

r

relative

n

nanouid

f

baseuid

ff

falling lm

s

solutions in containers and distributor

a

Fig. (a)

b

Fig. (b)

c

Fig. (c)

Abbreviations

AS

absolute slope of the tting straight line about absorption rate

RS

relative slop, dened by the ratio of absolute slope to

the absorption rate when kr (or gr, Kr, sr) = 1

for the absorber is that of falling lm on the external surface of a

vertical tube in our previous experimental study [20]. And in this

paper, the combined and follow-up theoretical study also adopts

this selection.

The process of ammonia falling lm absorption outside vertical

tube with nanouids is shown in Fig. 1. The absorber unit consists

of the top shell and the falling lm tube. The ammonia water (or

nanouid) solution enters the absorber from the top and then it

forms a lm in the distributor, and nally it falls along the exterior

surface of the heat-transfer tube. Ammonia gas enters to the absorber from the bottom and is evenly distributed in the absorber. Thus

absorption heat is generated as a result of the absorption of ammonia vapor by the solution. Cooling water enters from the bottom of

2. Model descriptions

The physical model and mathematical model introduced herein

are similar to our previous studies on numerical model of falling

lm absorption with ammonia-water affected by a magnetic eld

[24]. The difference in this work is that the magnetic eld is

replaced by a nanouid, considering the changes in the mixtures

ow and its physical properties when nanoparticles and dispersants are added. The detailed description about the physical model

and mathematical model are presented at the end of this section.

2.1. Physical model

In conventional water-cooled absorption cooling devices, the

solution ow takes place on the external surface of horizontal

tubes in conventional falling lm conguration of the absorber.

However, wettability of the falling lm affects the heat and mass

transfer performance greatly. In order to observe, check and adjust

the wettability of the falling lm all through the experiment, the

shell of the main body of the absorber is made up of transparent

acrylic glass. Therefore, to observe the conditions of solution lm

distribution in real-time through the transparent shell of the

243

L. Yang et al. / International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer 79 (2014) 241250

to the falling lm. It also removes the heat generated in absorption

process to ensure an optimal working condition at this stage [24].

The details of this mathematical solution can be obtained from

reference [24,25].

assumptions:

The main parameters of the falling lm and the tube the following: the outer and inner diameter of the tube is 25 and 22 mm,

respectively. The length is 1000 mm. The mixing area is evenly

divided into 2000 2000 mesh (in the direction of falling in the

direction of lm thickness). A standard operating condition is

employed to investigate the inuence of operating conditions

and the physical properties of nanouids on the heat and mass

transfer of ammonia falling lm absorption process. Parameters

of the standard operating condition are listed in Table 1.

The standard operating condition is dened according to the

previous experimental operating conditions [20]. The experimental

operating condition is set to ensure the absorption process continuously proceed in all section of the falling lm along the tube.

Otherwise, if the solution is saturated and the absorption process

stops before the end of the tube, the enhancement of nanouids

on the absorption performance cannot be veried from the saturated solutions. When the absorption process continuously proceed in all section of the tube, the operating condition is set to

obtain a more obvious difference results between the ammonia

water and ammonia water nanouid.

To study the effect of the physical properties of nanouids on

the performance of absorption, it was dened a set of the following

relative variables: relative thermal conductivity, relative viscosity,

relative mass transfer coefcient and relative ow resistance of

nanouids. Their corresponding equations are:

(2) The nanoparticles are dispersed evenly in the liquid, and the

inuence of bubbles is neglected.

(3) There are no molecular diffusion and heat conduction in the

direction of falling neither in radial plane of the tube.

(4) The pressure of ammonia vapor remains constant and the

heat conduction in this phase is neglected.

(5) All phases in the system are in thermodynamic equilibrium,

the heat generated at the absorption stage is completely

transferred throughout the vaporliquid interface and there

is no viscous shearing stress at this interface.

(6) The variation in the cooling waters temperature is linear

along the heat-transfer tube. The temperature difference

between cooling water and the outside wall of tube is set

as an arbitrary value.

The coordinate system is set as shown in Fig. 1. The X axis is

along the falling direction, and the Y axis is along the thickness

direction of the falling lm. The instantaneous velocity components in X and Y axis through the control volume are u and v,

respectively. In a time interval of dt, the quantities generated in

the control volume can be considered as zero. The continuity equation, momentum equation, energy equation and quality equation is

described respectively as follows [24]:

@qu @qv

0

@x

@y

qu

@u

@u

@

qv

@x

@y @y

1

@u

qg

@y

@n

@n

@

@n

qv

qDm

@x

@y @y

@y

At the inlet of the falling lm solution:

x 0; u u0 uin ;

v 0;

T T in ; n nin

y 0; u v 0; T T w ;

@n

0

@y y0

@u

@T

0; Pv FT i ; ni const; k

@y yd

@y yd

qDm @n

mab Dhab jyd ; mab

1 n @yyd

gr gn =gf

K r K n =K f

10

sr sn =sf

11

@T

@T

@

@T

qC p u qC p v

k

@x

@y @y

@y

qu

kr kn =kf

y d;

following variables were considered: the properties of ammoniawater nanouids at different ammonia concentration, the phenomenon of convection along the thickness direction of lm and the

Fig. 2 shows the inuences of thermal conductivity on the

absorption rate in different working conditions. It can be seen that,

whatever it is, in reference condition (a), or in 0.2 MPa absorption

pressure (b), or in 15% initial concentration of falling lm (c), the

inuence of thermal conductivity has very low impact on the

absorption since it increases less than 1% when the thermal conductivity of nanouids increases by 40%. This small effect may be

caused due to the fact that the lm is very thin and its thermal

resistance is much smaller than the entire thermal resistance.

The variation of the thermal conductivity of falling lm has little

effect on the performance of overall heat transfer coefcient and

the absorption performance. The above mentioned considerations

are applied just for the case of thin falling lm absorption outside

a vertical tube, but not for other kind of absorption processes, such

as bubble absorption, horizontal tubular absorption, etc.

Table 1

The operating conditions employed as a standard of reference.

Item

Tin (C)

Cin (m3/s)

nin (%)

Tw (C)

Cw (m3/s)

P (MPa)

Value

20

0.00001

15

0.00007

0.1

L. Yang et al. / International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer 79 (2014) 241250

0.4504

0.734

0.4500

0.4496

0.733

0.4492

1.0

1.1

1.2

1.3

0.928

0.927

1.484

1.483

0.926

1.482

0.925

1.4

0.9

1.0

0.4050

0.2460

0.4045

0.2458

1.1

1.2

AS

-1

0.2462

1.0

-1

0.4060

0.4055

0.9

1.2

1.3

1.4

1.481

(b)

heat of absorption

bsorption rate

Linear fit of absorption rate

0.2464

1.1

(a)

0.2466

1.486

1.485

1.3

1.4

(c)

0.007

A Sa

A Sb

A Sc

RS

0.9

1.487

heat of absorption

absorption rate

Linear Fit of absorption rate

0.929

0.735

heat of absorption

absorption rate

Linear fit of absorption rate

0.4508

244

RSa

RSb

RSc

0.00 7

RSb=0.00636

RSa=0.00471

RSc=0.00451

A Sc=0.00589

0

ASa=0.00111

A Sb=0.00212

0

(d)

Fig. 2. Inuences of thermal conductivity on the absorption rate in different working conditions. (a): In reference condition; (b): in 0.2 MPa absorption pressure; (c): in 15%

initial concentration of falling lm; (d): comparisons of AS and RS.

absorption performance at different operating conditions, absolute

slope (AS) was dened as the slope of the tting straight lines on

absorption rate. According to this, ASa, ASb and ASc in Fig. 2(d) represents the absolute slope of the tting straight lines of absorption

rate in Fig. 2(ac), respectively. It can be concluded that the absolute slope reects the absolute rate of change of absorption with

respect to the relative thermal conductivity. However, as a result

of different operating conditions showed in Fig. 2(ac), different

base numbers on absorption rate can be obtained. Therefore the

direct absolute slope comparison can not reect the relative intensity of the effect of thermal conductivity on the absorption performance. Consequently, it was necessary to dene the relative slope

(RS) as the ratio of absolute slope to the absorption rate when kr (or

gr, Kr, sr) = 1 for each different operating condition. Hence in

Fig. 2(d), RSa represents the ratio of ASa to the absorption rate when

kr = 1 and similar reasoning is applied for the denition of RSb and

RSc. This denition is also applied to other physical properties (viscosity, mass transfer coefcient, ow resistance) throughout this

paper. It can be concluded that RS reects the percentage of change

of absorption with respect to the relative thermal conductivity.

Fig. 2(ac) shows the trend of AS. A comparison of these two

slopes (AS and RS) is shown in Fig. 2(d), where it can be seen that

the operating condition with the highest absorption rate has also

the highest AS. This is because it has highest cardinal numbers

on absorption rate value. Therefore, the AS parameter can reveal

the rate of change of absorption with respect to the relative

thermal conductivity in each working condition, but again, it cannot be used for comparing the inuence of thermal conductivity at

different operating conditions. However, it can be seen from the

picture of Fig. 2(d) that the RSb has the largest values. This reveals

that the enhancement of thermal conductivity improves the

absorption rate at higher absorption pressure conditions. And the

no signicant difference between RSa and RSc.

3.2. Inuence of nanouids viscosity

Fig. 3(ac) shows the inuence of nanouids viscosity on the

absorption rate at the reference condition, 0.2 MPa absorption

pressure and 15% initial mixtures concentration, respectively. It

can be seen that the viscosity has negative impact on the absorption performance and its inuence intensity is much greater than

that is shown by thermal conductivity under all working conditions. The absorption rate decreases more than 20% when the viscosity increases by 30%. This conrms that the viscosity is an

important parameter. Fig. 3(d) shows the comparison of AS and

RS of Fig. 3(ac). It can be seen that the operating condition with

the highest absorption rate has the highest AS as a result of it

has the highest base number on absorption rate. However, it can

be seen from the picture of Fig. 3(d) that the working conditions

hardly affects the inuence of viscosity of nanouids on absorption

rate because the RS of all working conditions are almost equal.

3.3. Inuence of nanouids mass transfer coefcient

Fig. 4(ac) shows the effect of mass transfer coefcient of

nanouids on the absorption rate at the reference condition of:

0.2 MPa absorption pressure and 15% initial mixtures concentration of falling lm, respectively. It can be seen that under all operating conditions, the mass transfer coefcient has a positive impact

on the absorption performance and its inuence intensity is a little

weaker than that is shown by viscosity, but considerably higher

than that exhibited by thermal conductivity. Fig. 4(d) shows the

comparison of AS and RS of Fig. 4(ac). It can be seen that AS varies

in the same way as thermal conductivity and viscosity. However,

245

L. Yang et al. / International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer 79 (2014) 241250

0.50

0.7

0.45

0.40

0.6

0.9

1.0

1.1

1.2

1.6

1.0

1.5

1.4

0.9

1.3

0.8

0.7

1.3

1.2

0.8

0.9

0.40

0.25

0.35

0.20

1.1

1.2

1.1

1.3

1.2

1.3

A Sc=-0.1912

-1

0.45

1.1

0.30

(c)

A Sa=-0.3526

A S b=-0.7174

AS

0.30

1.0

-1

0.50

absorption rate

heat of absorption

0.9

1.0

(b)

(a)

0.8

1.7

-1

-1

1.1

-1

A Sa

A Sb

A Sc

RS

0.8

1.8

absorption rate

heat of absorption

0.8

-1

0.55

0.35

1.2

0.9

absorption rate

heat of absorption

-1

0.60

-1

R Sa

R Sc

R Sb

R Sa= -0.7837

R Sb=-0.7741

R Sc= -0.7766

(d)

Fig. 3. Inuences of viscosity of nanouids on the absorption rate in different working conditions. (a): In reference condition; (b): in 0.2 MPa absorption pressure; (c): in 15%

initial concentration of falling lm; (d): comparisons of AS and RS.

the variation of RS showed in the picture of Fig. 4(d) is very different form the two previous nonouids physical parameters (thermal conductivity and viscosity). RSc has the highest value, which

reveals that incrementing the mass transfer coefcient has greater

impact on the absorption performance, under the operating condition of higher initial concentration of nanouids. It also reveals

that the inuence of absorption pressure on the absorption rate

is not signicant, because RSa is just a little bigger than RSb. Therefore, in plain words, the mass transfer coefcient has greater effect

under the working condition of weaker absorption performance. A

possible reason for this circumstance can be explained as follows:

when the absorption performance is weaker, the mass transfer

coefcient is the main factor of resistance to the absorption process. The enhancement of mass transfer coefcient can play an

important role when absorption is weak. However, when the

absorption performance is higher, the mass transfer coefcient

takes a secondary role in resisting absorption. Consequently, the

enhancement of mass transfer coefcient has less importance at

that moment.

the decrease in ows velocity and its volumetric rate. Hence the

Reynolds number decreases, which eventually causes the diminution of heat and mass transfer performance.

The comparison between the slopes AS and RS, shown in

Fig. 5(ac), is resumed in Fig. 5(d). It can be seen that AS is almost

proportional to the base number of absorption rate of each

operating condition. The same behavior is observed for thermal

conductivity, viscosity and mass transfer coefcient. In the insert

picture of Fig. 5(d), it is clear that the operating condition has similar inuence over the RS to that of thermal conductivity but different to that of mass transfer coefcient. It can also be seen In

Fig. 5(d) that RSb has the highest value, which reveals that the

relative ow resistance has greater impact on absorption performance at higher pressure. The absolute value of RS is very high

and the ows resistance has more impact on absorption than

mixtures other physical properties. Therefore, the absorption performance can be more greatly improved in higher absorption pressure. Especially for some kind of nanouids which cause a drag

reduction effect when are combined with a surfactant [26].

data

the absorption rate at the reference condition: 0.2 MPa absorption

pressure and 15% initial mixtures concentration. The relative ow

resistance is dened by the ratio of effective ow time of the nanouid compared to the baseuids ow time. It can be seen that the

relative ow resistance has a very negative impact on the absorption performance and its inuence intensity is the greatest on all

mixtures physical parameters. Also the absorption rate decreases

about 50% when the relative ow resistance increases by 30%.

The greatest impact of ow resistance on the absorption performance is mainly due to the high ow resistance, which causes

data for ammonia falling lm absorption outside vertical tube with

nanouids to verify the accuracy of the mathematical model. The

experimental apparatus, procedure, parameters, physical nanouids properties and calculation methods have been demonstrated

in our previous research [24].

Fig. 6 shows the schematic diagram of the experimental device

for NH3/H2O nanouid falling lm absorption process [20]. The

absorption takes place simultaneously at the interface of solutions

in the containers and the distributor. For this reason, the

L. Yang et al. / International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer 79 (2014) 241250

1.10

0.75

0.44

0.70

0.65

0.40

0.8

0.9

1.0

1.1

1.2

1.3

0.90

0.8

0.9

1.0

1.1

Kr

Kr

(b)

0.40

0.36

0.22

1.1

1.2

1.3

ASa

ASb

ASc

1.3

1.3

RSa

RSb

RSc

RSa=0.45046

RSc=0.50884

RSb=0.43202

ASb=0.40034

ASa=0.20265

ASc=0.12525

0

Kr

1.2

RS

AS

-1

0.44

0.24

1.0

-1

1.4

0.85

0.60

0.26

0.9

1.5

0.95

(a)

absorption rate

heat of absorption

0.8

1.6

1.00

0.28

-1

-1

1.05

1.7

absorption rate

heat of absorption

0.48

-1

0.80

0.85

absorption rate

heat of absorption

0.52

-1

246

(c)

(d)

Fig. 4. Inuence of mass transfer coefcient of nanouids on the absorption rate in different working conditions. (a): In reference condition; (b): in 0.2 MPa absorption

pressure; (c): in 15% initial concentration of falling lm; (d): comparisons of AS and RS.

the falling lm absorption process. After this, numerical and experimental results can trustily be compared.

The following equations were used to perform the trimming of

experimental data:

M Mff M s

12

M ff K ff Sff

13

M S K S SS

14

distributor (can be considered approximately as static mass

transfer). The falling lms mass transfer coefcient at very low

Reynolds Number (Res = 49), whose corresponding ow rate is also

very slow (can also be considered approximately as static mass

transfer), were used to conveniently replace the mass transfer

coefcient at the interface of the solutions in containers and distributor. As a result, the ratio of mass transfer coefcient of falling

lm and solution in container and distributor were obtained by

following two equations [27]:

K ff

D

v2

1=3

Scff1=2

ff

15

Ks

D

v2

g

1=3

Sc1=2

s

s

16

equation, which has the following form:

Mff

Sc1=2

ff

ff Sff

1=2

Scff Sff 1:099 102 Re0:3955

Scs1=2 Ss

ff

s

17

In our previous experimental studies, to obtain the suitable

nanouids applied in ammonia absorption refrigeration system,

20 types of nanoparticles mixed pairwise orthogonally with 10

types of surfactants were added in ammonia-water, respectively

to observe the dispersion stability of suspension and hereby obtain

the functioning surfactant for each type of nanoparticles [28]. Then

three kinds of nanoparticles (Al2O3, ZnFe2O4, Fe2O3) with SDBS as

dispersant were selected and employed in the comparative experiments of ammonia absorption based on an overall consideration of

stability, viscosity and other physical properties [20]. The preparation, selection and ingredient of nanouids, as well as the comparative experimental results can be referenced in our previous

experimental studies about preparation and ammonia absorption

performance of nanouids [20,2931].

Fig. 7 shows the absorption rate at different initial ammonia

concentrations in order to make possible the comparison between

the model data, raw experimental data, and trimmed experimental

data. When is considered the absorption in containers and distributor, the raw experimental data seem to be below the model data,

and seem to be above without considering the absorption. However, when the model calculates the absorption rate, considering

the initial concentration of water, the data results are concordant

with raw and trimmed experimental data. As a result of the models assumptions and the errors in the experiments, measurements

and calculations, the disparity between the model and the experiments is unavoidable. However, the model is deemed to be used

for approximately design the absorber vessel since the relative

errors are within 20%.

247

L. Yang et al. / International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer 79 (2014) 241250

0.6

0.8

0.5

0.6

0.4

0.3

0.4

0.8

0.9

1.0

1.1

1.2

-1

absorption rate

heat of absorption

1.4

1.2

1.6

1.0

1.2

0.8

0.6

1.3

0.8

0.9

1.0

(a)

0.20

0.3

0.15

1.1

1.2

0.8

1.3

-1

ASb= -1.6532

RSc= -1.4351

-1

ASa

ASb

ASc

0.2

1.3

RSa

RSc

RSb

RS

0.4

0.25

ASa= -0.7501

AS

0.5

0.30

1.0

1.2

ASc= -0.3533

-1

absorption rate

heat of absorption

0.9

1.1

-1

Absorption rate (g s )

0.6

0.8

(b)

0.40

0.35

2.0

-1

Absorption rate (g s )

1.0

-1

0.7

1.6

absorption rate

heat of absorption

-1

Absorption rate (g s )

0.8

(c)

RSa= -1.6673

RSb= -1.784

(d)

Fig. 5. Inuence of ow resistance of nanouids on the absorption rate in different working conditions. (a): In reference condition; (b): in 0.2 MPa absorption pressure; (c): in

15% initial concentration of falling lm; (d): comparisons of AS and RS.

0.8

12

Model data

Raw experimental data

Regulated experimental data by Eq(17)

11

-1

13

0.7

10

9

8

7

3

14

0.6

0.5

0.4

0.3

0.2

5

1

15

of solution 5 inlet of cooling water 6, 10 constant flow controller; 7 falling film tube

8 visible absorbor body 9 solution distributor 12tubes for balancing pressure; 13 outlet

of cooling water 14 HP data acquisition instrument 15 computer

Fig. 6. Schematic diagram of the experimental system for NH3/H2O nanouid

falling lm absorption.

Figs. 810 show the comparison between the model data and

trimmed experimental data for the absorption rate at different initial ammonia concentration when the Al2O3, ZnFe2O4 and Fe2O3

nanouids are employed. It can be seen that, for each kind of

nanouid, there are great errors between the model and the raw

10

15

Fig. 7. The comparisons between the model data, raw experimental data, and

regulated experimental data about absorption rate in different initial ammonia

concentration of water.

the errors between the model and the trimmed experimental data

obtained by Eq. (17) are much smaller, and most of them are

within 20%. Hence, it can be concluded that experimental data

trimming is important for obtaining the real absorption rate of

ammonia falling lm absorption outside vertical tube. The model

accuracy of absorption rate for each kind of uid is illustrated in

Fig. 11, which shows the relative errors for each kind of nanouid

at different initial ammonia concentration. When is considered the

248

L. Yang et al. / International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer 79 (2014) 241250

0.9

1.2

-1

-1

0.8

0.7

0.6

0.5

0.4

Model data

Raw experimental data

Regulated experimental data by Eq(17)

0.3

0.2

10

1.0

0.8

0.6

0.4

15

Model data

Raw experimental data

Regulated experimental data by Eq(17)

0.8

0.6

0.4

10

15

10

15

Fig. 10. The comparisons between the model data, raw experimental data, and

regulated experimental data about absorption rate in different initial ammonia

concentration of Fe2O3 nanouids.

0.4

-1

1.0

Fig. 8. The comparisons between the model data, raw experimental data, and

regulated experimental data about absorption rate in different initial ammonia

concentration of Al2O3 nanouids.

Model data

Raw experimental data

Regulated experimental data by Eq(17)

0% initial ammonia content

5% initial ammonia content

10% initial ammonia content

15% initial ammonia content

0% initial ammonia content

5% initial ammonia content

10% initial ammonia content

15% initial ammonia content

0.2

0.0

-0.2

-0.4

Fig. 9. The comparisons between the model data, raw experimental data, and

regulated experimental data about absorption rate in different initial ammonia

concentration of ZnFe2O4 nanouids.

Water

Al2O3

ZnFe2O4

Fe2O 3

Fluid types

Fig. 11. The relative errors for each kind of nanoudis in different initial ammonia

concentration.

absorption at the interface of solution in containers and distributor, 87.5% of the relative errors are within 20% and the maximum

is 21.5%. However, if the absorption at the interface of solution in

containers and distributor are not taken into account, the relative

errors between model and raw experimental data are much greater

because 62.5% of the relative errors exceed 20% and the maximum

reaches 36.9%.

In our previous experimental study, to observe the conditions of

solution lm distribution in real-time through the transparent

shell of the absorber all through the experiment, the transparent

shell is made up by acrylic glass. To ensure the strength and security of the experimental unit, the experimental was not carried out

for higher ammonia concentration of uids which matched with

higher absorption pressure. It can be found by experiment or

model that the ammonia absorption rate decreases with the

increase of the ammonia concentration in initial uid. Therefore,

to obviously comparing the ammonia absorption performance

between nanouids and pure ammonia water, the experiments

were carried out with lower ammonia concentration uid. In this

paper, the results of higher ammonia concentration uid can also

be calculated. However, as a result of the value of model calculation cannot yet be veried by our experimental results, the results

of higher ammonia concentration uids are not listed in this paper.

The improvement of absorption rate by nanouids is mainly as

a result of drag reduction and the physical properties of nanouids.

In previous studies of some researchers [5,6,20,26,31,32], the

increase of thermal conductivity, the decrease of viscosity and drag

reduction are found in some kinds of nanouids. These variations

in the nanouids properties may be caused by the rod-shaped

micelles formed by surfactants [3337] and the smoothing effect

on the solid surface caused by the nanoparticles [26]. The experimental results showed that when the ammonia mass fraction of

initial nanouid increases, the absorption potential capacity

decreases, but the enhancing effect induced by the nanouid is

greater than the effect without nanoparticles [20].

Broadly speaking, the model presented herein includes some

physical factors that impact on the absorption performance of

ammonia falling lm absorption outside vertical tube when

249

L. Yang et al. / International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer 79 (2014) 241250

2.0

-1

Model data

Heat absorbed by falling film (experimental)

Heat absorbed by cooling water (experimental)

1.5

1.0

0.5

0.4

0.2

0.0

-21.22%

-0.2

-0.4

0.0

Water

Al2O3

ZnFe2O4

Fe2O3

Water

Fluid types

Al2O3

ZnFe2O4

Fe2O3

Fluid types

(a)

(b)

Fig. 12. The comparisons of the absorption heat (a) and relative errors (b) between the model and experimental data in 0% initial ammonia concentration nanouids.

[2830,38], surface tension, specic heat, etc. that were not considered in this model. The mass transfer coefcient was also not considered in calculating the gross absorption. Consequently, this

model can still be improved by considering those parameters. It

is expected that this model can establish the foundation for further

numerical research on ammonia falling lm absorption outside

vertical tube with nanouids.

Fig. 12 shows the comparisons of the absorption heat (a) and

the relative errors (b) between the model and experimental data

at 0% initial ammonia concentration nanouids. It can be seen that

the heat of absorption is used for heating the nanouids and the

cooling water. The experimental data of absorption heat are not

trimmed like the data of absorption rate. The reason for this is that

the phenomenon of absorption at the interface of solution in containers and distributor, besides the heat released to the metal tube

and the environment, are factors that can cancel each other out. It

can be found from Fig. 12(b) that the model has a high accuracy

when calculating the absorption heat of the pure waterAl2O3 mixture, since the maximum error is within 5%. But it shows a relative

low accuracy when calculating the absorption heat of pure water

ZnFe2O3 and waterFe2O3 nanouids mixtures, because the maximum error is about 20%. Altogether, the model is considered to

be able to predict the absorption heat of ammonia falling lm

absorption outside vertical tube with nanouids and it is expected

that this model can be further improved by modifying it or enhancing the accuracy of experiments and measurements.

The theoretical model of this paper is mainly focused on the inuence of physical properties and ow state of nanouids on the

ammonia falling lm absorption performances. It is not specic to

a certain kind of nanoparticles. And the physical properties and ow

state of nanouids need to be obtained by experimental or mathematical method when the model is applied to a specic kind of nanouid. However, the nanouids for ammonia falling lm absorption

should be stable and highly mobile, otherwise the sedimentation

and adsorption of nanoparticles on the tube will affect the ammonia

absorption performance which is not considered in the model.

5. Conclusions

(1) A numerical model of ammonia falling lm absorption outside vertical tube with nanouid was established by considering the variation of falling lm thickness along falling, and

the changes in physical properties of ammonia water when

adding nanoparticles and dispersants.

decreases or when initial concentration of mixture increases,

the relative intensity of effect on absorption rate is weakened by the variation of thermal conductivity but enhanced

by the variation of mass transfer coefcients and ow resistance, while the variation of mixtures viscosity exhibits very

low effect.

(3) The numerical results are compared to similar experimental

data for the ammonia falling lm absorption with nanouids. The comparison results show that the heat and mass

transfer are mainly affected by the lm drag reduction and

its physical properties. The numerical model obtained can

be used for calculating the absorption rate of ammoniawater-nanouid mixtures with acceptable accuracy, since

87% of relative errors are lower than 20%.

Conict of interest

None declared.

Acknowledgments

The work of this paper is nancially supported by the Science

Foundation of China (51176029), the 12th Five Year National

Science and Technology support Key Project of China (Nos.

2011BAJ03B05 and 2011BAE14B06) and the Scientic Research

Foundation of Graduate School of Southeast University

(YBPY1205). The supports are gratefully acknowledged.

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