NH3 in-tube condensation heat transfer and pressure drop in a smooth tube

Chang Yong Park, Pega Hrnjak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents an overview of the issues and new results for in-tube condensation of ammonia in horizontal round tubes. A new empirical correlation is presented based on measured NH3 in-tube condensation heat transfer and pressure drop by Komandiwirya et al. [Komandiwirya, H.B., Hrnjak, P.S., Newell, T.A., 2005. An experimental investigation of pressure drop and heat transfer in an in-tube condensation system of ammonia with and without miscible oil in smooth and enhanced tubes. ACRC CR-54, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign] in an 8.1 mm aluminum tube at a saturation temperature of 35 °C, and for a mass flux range of 20-270 kg m-2 s-1. Most correlations overpredict these measured NH3 heat transfer coefficients, up to 300%. The reasons are attributed to difference in thermophysical properties of ammonia compared to other refrigerants used in generation and validation of the correlations. Based on the conventional correlations, thermophysical properties of ammonia, and measured heat transfer coefficients, a new correlation was developed which can predict most of the measured values within ±20%. Measured NH3 pressure drop is shown and discussed. Two separated flow models are shown to predict the pressure drop relatively well at pressure drop higher than 1 kPa m-1, while a homogeneous model yields acceptable values at pressure drop less than 1 kPa m-1. The pressure drop mechanism and prediction accuracy are explained though the use of flow patterns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)643-651
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Refrigeration
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2008


  • Ammonia
  • Condenser
  • Correlation
  • Experiment
  • Heat exchanger
  • Heat transfer
  • Horizontal tube
  • Pressure drop
  • Survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanical Engineering


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