Effect of inclination on heat transfer and flow regimes in large flattened-tube steam condensers

William A. Davies, Yu Kang, Pega Hrnjak, Anthony M. Jacobi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An experimental study of convective steam condensation inside a large, inclined, flattened tube used in air-cooled condensers for power plants is presented. This is the fourth of a four-part group of papers. The first three parts (Kang et al., 2017; Davies et al., 2017, 2018) published in the same journal present the facility, pressure drop, void fraction, flow regime and heat transfer results, while this study presents the effects of inclination on heat transfer and flow regimes. The condenser is a flattened steel tube with brazed aluminum fins. The full tube has dimensions 10.72 m × 214 mm × 18 mm. The condenser tube is cut in half lengthwise and covered with a polycarbonate window to perform visualization simultaneously with the heat transfer measurements. The steam is condensed at atmospheric pressure, and cooled by air at a uniform velocity profile. The angle of inclination is varied from horizontal (0°) to 75° downward. Condenser performance is also predicted with a model. The majority of the condenser is found to be in the stratified flow regime for all inclinations tested, with only a short annular section at the inlet of the condenser. The tubes inclined greater than 60° are also found to have stratified-wavy flow near the condenser outlet. Overall condenser U is found to increase with increasing downward inclination angle of the condenser, with a maximum increase of approximately 4% at 75° inclination. This improvement is found to be the result of improved drainage and increased void fraction near the condenser outlet. Mean steam-side heat transfer coefficient1 (HTC) is found to remain constant along the tube, and for the entire condenser, with changes in tube inclination angle. Commonly-used inclined condensation HTC correlations are found to underpredict the magnitude of the experimentally-determined steam-side HTC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)999-1006
Number of pages8
JournalApplied Thermal Engineering
StatePublished - Feb 5 2019


  • Air-cooled condenser
  • Condensation
  • Flattened tube
  • Heat transfer coefficient
  • Inclination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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