Poor distribution of two-phase flow in a microchannel heat exchanger header requires a solution to maximize its potential advantage of compactness while offering a high heat-transfer rate. While previous works have attempted to improve two-phase flow distribution, most have focused on horizontal headers, which commonly appear in indoor units. However, there are a few studies on vertical headers that function as an evaporator in heat pump mode that are typical in outdoor units. This study describes the development of a modified vertical header with a dual-compartment structure aimed at improving the flow distribution. Experiments and visualizations were conducted using R410A in a test section that represented the size and capacity of an actual heat exchanger. The inlet mass flux was 309–1235 kg·m−2s−1 (50–200 kg·h−1), vapor quality was 0.1–0.2, and the evaporating temperature was maintained at 15 °C. The results were compared to the conventional header previously evaluated by our research group. Results showed that the dual-compartment header was able to enhance the liquid flow distribution at low inlet mass flux from approximately 30% to 80% based on relative standard deviation (RSD), with a generally higher liquid Reynolds number when compared to the conventional header.
ASJC Scopus subject areas