The heat transfer and pressure drop characteristics of plate heat exchangers were measured, when used as refrigerant liquid over-feed evaporators. The three units all had 24 plates but with different chevron-angle combinations of 28°/28°, 28°/60°, and 60°/60°. R134a flowing upwards was used as the refrigerant, in a counter-current arrangement with water flowing on the other side. Heat transfer and pressure drop measurements were made over a range of mass flux, heat flux and corresponding outlet vapour fractions. The effect of system pressure on the evaporator performance was not evaluated due to the small range of evaporating temperature. Experimental data were reduced to obtain the refrigerant-side heat transfer coefficient and frictional pressure drop. The results for heat transfer showed a strong dependence on heat flux and weak dependence on mass flux and vapour fraction. Furthermore, the chevron angle had a small influence on heat transfer but a large influence on frictional pressure drops. Along with observations that were obtained previously on large ammonia and R12 plate evaporators, it is concluded that the dominating heat transfer mechanism in this type of evaporator is nucleate-boiling rather than forced convection. For the two-phase friction factor, various established methods were evaluated; the homogeneous treatment gives good agreement.

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