This paper reports the development of an experimentally validated model for pressure drop during intermittent flow of condensing refrigerant R134a in horizontal, noncircular microchannels. Two-phase pressure drops were measured in six noncircular channels ranging in hydraulic diameter from 0.42 mm to 0.84 mm. The tube shapes included square, rectangular, triangular, barrel-shaped, and others. For each tube under consideration, pressure drop measurements were taken over the entire range of qualities from vapor to liquid at five different refrigerant mass fluxes between 150 kg/m2s and 750 kg/m2s. Results from previous work by the authors were used to select the data that correspond to the intermittent flow regime; generally, these points had qualities less than 25%. The pressure drop model previously developed by the authors for circular microchannels was used as the basis for the model presented in this paper. The model includes the contributions of the liquid slug, the vapor bubble, and the transitions between the bubbles and slugs. Slug frequency was estimated using a simple correlation for non-dimensional unit-cell length. The model predicts the experimentally measured pressure drops for the noncircular tube shapes under consideration with 90% of the predictions within ±28% of the measurements (average error 16.5%), which is shown to be much better than the predictions of other models in the literature. The effects of tube shape on condensation pressure drop are also illustrated in the paper.

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