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Investigating the costs and benefits of controllable inlet orifice hydraulic diameter in microchannel cooling devices

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Recent literature indicates potential benefits in microchannel cooling if an inlet orifice is used to suppress pressure oscillations that develop under two-phase conditions. This study investigates the costs and benefits of using an adjustable microchannel inlet orifice. The focus is

Recent literature indicates potential benefits in microchannel cooling if an inlet orifice is used to suppress pressure oscillations that develop under two-phase conditions. This study investigates the costs and benefits of using an adjustable microchannel inlet orifice. The focus is on orifice effect during steady-state boiling and critical heat flux (CHF) in the channels using R134a in a pumped refrigerant loop (PRL). To change orifice size, a dam controlled with a micrometer was placed in front of 31 parallel microchannels. Each channel had a hydraulic diameter of 0.235 mm and a length of 1.33 cm. For steady state two-phase conditions, mass fluxes of 300 kg m-2 s-1 and 600 kg m-2 s-1were investigated. For orifice sizes with a hydraulic diameter to unrestricted hydraulic diameter (Dh:Dh,ur) ratio less than 35 percent, oscillations were reduced and wall temperatures fell up to 1.5 °C. Critical heat flux data were obtained for 7 orifice sizes with mass fluxes from 186 kg m-2 s-1 to 847 kg m-2 s-1. For all mass fluxes and inlet conditions tested, CHF values for a Dh:Dh,ur ratio of 1.8 percent became increasingly lower (up to 37 W cm-2 less) than those obtained with larger orifices. An optimum orifice size with Dh:Dh,ur of 35 percent emerged, offering up to 5 W cm-2 increase in CHF over unrestricted conditions at the highest mass flux tested, 847 kg m-2 s-1. These improvements in cooling ability with inlet orifices in place under both steady-state and impending CHF conditions are modest, leading to the conclusion that inlet orifices are only mildly effective at improving heat transfer coefficients. Stability of the PRL used for experimentation was also studied and improved. A vapor compression cycle's (VCC) proportional, integral, and derivative controller was found to adversely affect stability within the PRL and cause premature CHF. Replacing the VCC with an ice water heat sink maintained steady pumped loop system pressures and mass flow rates. The ice water heat sink was shown to have energy cost savings over the use of a directly coupled VCC for removing heat from the PRL.

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2012

Study of a night sky radiator cooling system utilizing direct fluid radiation emission and varying cover materials

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As the demand for power increases in populated areas, so will the demand for water. Current power plant technology relies heavily on the Rankine cycle in coal, nuclear and solar thermal power systems which ultimately use condensers to cool the

As the demand for power increases in populated areas, so will the demand for water. Current power plant technology relies heavily on the Rankine cycle in coal, nuclear and solar thermal power systems which ultimately use condensers to cool the steam in the system. In dry climates, the amount of water to cool off the condenser can be extremely large. Current wet cooling technologies such as cooling towers lose water from evaporation. One alternative to prevent this would be to implement a radiative cooling system. More specifically, a system that utilizes the volumetric radiation emission from water to the night sky could be implemented. This thesis analyzes the validity of a radiative cooling system that uses direct radiant emission to cool water. A brief study on potential infrared transparent cover materials such as polyethylene (PE) and polyvinyl carbonate (PVC) was performed. Also, two different experiments to determine the cooling power from radiation were developed and run. The results showed a minimum cooling power of 33.7 W/m2 for a vacuum insulated glass system and 37.57 W/m2 for a tray system with a maximum of 98.61 Wm-2 at a point when conduction and convection heat fluxes were considered to be zero. The results also showed that PE proved to be the best cover material. The minimum numerical results compared well with other studies performed in the field using similar techniques and materials. The results show that a radiative cooling system for a power plant could be feasible given that the cover material selection is narrowed down, an ample amount of land is available and an economic analysis is performed proving it to be cost competitive with conventional systems.

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2011

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Thermal energy conversion in nanofluids

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A relatively simple subset of nanotechnology - nanofluids - can be obtained by adding nanoparticles to conventional base fluids. The promise of these fluids stems from the fact that relatively low particle loadings (typically <1% volume fractions) can significantly

A relatively simple subset of nanotechnology - nanofluids - can be obtained by adding nanoparticles to conventional base fluids. The promise of these fluids stems from the fact that relatively low particle loadings (typically <1% volume fractions) can significantly change the properties of the base fluid. This research explores how low volume fraction nanofluids, composed of common base-fluids, interact with light energy. Comparative experimentation and modeling reveals that absorbing light volumetrically (i.e. in the depth of the fluid) is fundamentally different from surface-based absorption. Depending on the particle material, size, shape, and volume fraction, a fluid can be changed from being mostly transparent to sunlight (in the case of water, alcohols, oils, and glycols) to being a very efficient volumetric absorber of sunlight. This research also visualizes, under high levels of irradiation, how nanofluids undergo interesting, localized phase change phenomena. For this, images were taken of bubble formation and boiling in aqueous nanofluids heated by a hot wire and by a laser. Infrared thermography was also used to quantify this phenomenon. Overall, though, this research reveals the possibility for novel solar collectors in which the working fluid directly absorbs light energy and undergoes phase change in a single step. Modeling results indicate that these improvements can increase a solar thermal receiver's efficiency by up to 10%.

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2011