This article analyzes the effect of external heat transfer on the thermal performance of counterflow microchannel heat exchangers. Equations for predicting the axial temperature and the effectiveness of both fluids as well as the heat transferred between the fluids, while operating under external heating or cooling conditions, are provided in this article. External heating may decrease and increase the effectiveness of the hot and cold fluids, respectively. External cooling may improve and degrade the effectiveness of the hot and cold fluids, respectively. For unbalanced flows, the thermal performance of the microchannel heat exchanger subjected to external heat transfer depends on the fluid with the lowest heat capacity. At a particular number of transfer units (NTU), the effectiveness of both the fluids increased with decrease in heat capacity ratio when the hot fluid had the lowest heat capacity. When the cold fluid had the lowest heat capacity, the effectiveness of both fluids increased with decrease in heat capacity ratio at low values of NTU but at high values of NTU the effectiveness increased with increase in heat capacity ratio. A term called the "performance factor" has been introduced in this article to assess the relative change in effectiveness due to external heat transfer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Mechanical Engineering
- Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes