Experimental Investigation of Two-Phase Flow Distribution with Different Vertical Header Configurations

Moojong Kim*, Mark Anthony Bolivar Redo, Jongsoo Jeong, Kiyoshi Saito, Sangmu Lee, Hyunyoung Kim

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this study, we investigated the behavior of two-phase flow distribution inside a vertical header of a microchannel heat exchanger (MCHX) that functions as an evaporator of a heat pump system. In general, the two-phase flow distribution behavior of the refrigerant differs depending on the target application, which ranges from small-scale automobile air-conditioners to large-scale building heat pump systems. Particularly, it is reported that the distribution characteristics in the vertical header of the MCHX vary extensively according to the inlet flow conditions of the refrigerant and the physical profile of the header. In this study, the physical configurations (header height, branch tube diameter) of four types of vertical headers were considered. Thereafter, the operating conditions in an experimental device that simulates an MCHX with a vertical header were selected. The experiment was performed under R410A as the working fluid, with a saturation temperature of 15 °C, inlet mass flow rate of 50–150 kg h−1 (mass flux of 908–2723 kg m−2 s−1), and an inlet vapor quality of 0.1–0.2. The liquid and vapor flow ratios and the relative standard deviation were adopted as metrics to characterize the uniformity of flow distribution. The distribution characteristics were subsequently described according to Reynolds and Froude numbers. The larger the Reynolds number and the smaller the Froude number, the more uniform the two-phase flow distribution becomes. A correlation was proposed as a function of the Reynolds and Froude numbers to predict the flow distribution characteristics for the considered vertical headers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8320
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Nov


  • flow distribution
  • header structure
  • heat pump
  • maldistribution
  • microchannel heat exchanger
  • vertical header

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Building and Construction
  • Fuel Technology
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Energy (miscellaneous)
  • Control and Optimization
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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