Heat transfer performance during condensation inside horizontal smooth, micro-fin and herringbone tubes

Adriaan Lambrechts, Leon Liebenberg, Arthur E. Bergles, Josua P. Meyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An experimental investigation was conducted into the heat transfer characteristics during in-tube condensation of horizontal smooth, micro-fin, and herringbone tubes. The study focused on the heat transfer coefficients of refrigerants R-22, R-134a, and R-407C inside a series of typical horizontal smooth, micro-fin, and herringbone tubes at a representative average saturation temperature of 40°C. Mass fluxes ranged from 300 to 800 kg/m2 s, and vapor qualities ranged from 0.85 to 0.95 at condenser inlet, to 0.05 to 0. 15 at condenser outlet. The herringbone tube results were compared with the smooth and micro-fin tube results. The average increase in the heat transfer coefficient of the herringbone tube, when compared with the smooth tube at comparable conditions, was found to be 322%, with maximum values reaching 336%. When compared with the micro-fin tube, the average increase in heat transfer coefficient was found to be 196%, with maximum values reaching 215%. Moreover, a new correlation was developed to predict the heat transfer coefficients in a herringbone and micro-fin tube. Semi-local heat transfer coefficients were calculated from the modified Wilson plot technique, using measurements of condenser subsection inlets and outlets, and from knowledge of the temperature gradient on the annulus side. The correlation predicted the semi-local heat transfer coefficients accurately, with 96% and 89% of the data points falling in the ±20% region for the herringbone tube and the micro-fin tube, respectively. The average heat transfer coefficients were accurately predicted, too, with all the data points for the herringbone tube and 83% of the data points for the micro-fin tube falling in the ±20% region. The derived heat transfer correlations can be used for design, especially for reversible heat pumps. This research proves that predicting the flow pattern during intermittent and annular flow is not a prerequisite for predicting the heat transfer accurately to within 20% of the measurements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)691-700
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Heat Transfer
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Condensation
  • Heat pumps
  • Heat transfer coefficient correlation
  • Herringbone tube
  • Micro-fin tube

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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