A general and simple model for simulating the steady behavior of air-to-refrigerant fin-and-tube evaporators, which accounts for detailed flow state inside the tubes, is introduced. To account for the heat transfer between air and the working fluid, the evaporator is divided into a number of control volumes. Space dependent partial differential equations group is obtained from the mass, energy and momentum balances for each one. The corresponding discretized governing equations are solved afterwards. Empirical correlations are also required to estimate the void fraction, the internal and external heat transfer coefficients, as well as the pressure drops. According to the phase of refrigerating fluid, the evaporator can be divided into two distinct zones on the refrigerant-side: the vapor zone and the two-phase zone, while special emphasis is performed on the treatment of the two-phase zone. The distribution of flow pattern has been evaluated with the aim of improving the calculation accuracy. The model prediction is validated against experimental data for an evaporator using R22 as the working fluid, which shows a reasonable level of agreement: the cooling capacity is predicted within the error band of 3%. The developed model will have wide applications in operational optimization, performance assessment and pipeline design.

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