In this study, we have explored the effectiveness of heat exchangers constructed using anisotropic, micro-patterned aluminum fins to more completely drain the condensate that forms on the heat transfer surface during normal operation with the aim of improving the thermal-hydraulic performance of the heat exchanger. This study presents and critically evaluates the efficacy of full-scale heat exchangers constructed from these micro-grooved surfaces by measuring dry/wet air-side pressure drop and dry/wet air-side heat transfer data. The new fin surface design was shown to decrease the core pressure drop of the heat exchanger during wet operation from 9.3% to 52.7%. Furthermore, these prototype fin surfaces were shown to have a negligible effect on the heat transfer coefficient under both dry and wet conditions while at the same time reducing the wet airside pressure drop thereby decreasing fan power consumption. That is to say, this novel fin surface design has shown the ability, through improved condensate management, to enhance the thermal-hydraulic performance of plain-fin-and-tube heat exchangers used in air-conditioning applications. This paper also presents data pertaining to the durability of the alkyl silane coating.

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