Direct-contact heat transfer between a falling liquid film and a gas stream yield high heat transfer rates and as such it is routinely used in several industrial applications. This concept has been incorporated by us into the proposed design of a novel heat exchanger for indirect cooling of steam in power plants. The DILSHE (Direct-contact Liquid-on-String Heat Exchangers) module consists of an array of small diameter (∼ 1 mm) vertical strings with hot liquid coolant flowing down them due to gravity. A low- or near-zero vapor pressure liquid coolant is essential to minimize/eliminate coolant loss. Consequently, liquids such as Ionic Liquids and Silicone oils are ideal candidates for the coolant. The liquid film thickness is of the order of 1 mm. Gas (ambient air) flowing upwards cools the hot liquid coolant. Onset of fluid instabilities (Rayleigh-Plateau and/or Kapitza instabilities) result in the formation of a liquid beads, which enhance heat transfer due to additional mixing. The key to successfully designing and operating DILSHE is understanding the fundamentals of the liquid film fluid dynamics and heat transfer and developing an operational performance map. As a first step towards achieving these goals, we have undertaken a parametric experimental and numerical study to investigate the fluid dynamics of thin liquid films flowing down small diameter strings. Silicone oil and air are the working fluids in the experiments. The experiments were performed with a single nylon sting (fishing line) of diameter = 0.61 mm and height = 1.6 m. The inlet temperature of both liquid and air were constant (∼ 20 °C). In the present set of experiments the variables that were parametrically varied were: (i) liquid mass flow rate (0.05 to 0.23 g/s) and (ii) average air velocity (0 to 2.7 m/s). Visualization of the liquid flow was performed using a high-speed camera. Parameters such as base liquid film thickness, liquid bead shape and size, velocity (and hence frequency) of beads were measured from the high-speed video recordings. The effect of gas velocity on the dynamics of the liquid beads was compared to data available in the open literature. Within the range of gas velocities used in the experiments, the occurrence of liquid hold up and/or liquid blow over, if any, were also identified. Numerical simulations of the two-phase flow are currently being performed. The experimental results will be invaluable in validation/refinement of the numerical simulations and development of the operational map.

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