A mechanistic model was developed for the thermal-hydraulic processes in the spout flash evaporator of an OC-OTEC plant. Nonequilibrium, two-fluid, conservation equations were solved for the two-phase flow in the spout, accounting for evaporation at the gas-liquid interface, and using a two-phase flow regime map consisting of bubbly, churn-turbulent and dispersed droplet flow patterns. Solution of the two-phase conservation equations provided the flow conditions at the spout exit, which were used in modeling the fluid mechanics and heat transfer in the evaporator, where the liquid was assumed to shatter into a spray with a log-normal size distribution. Droplet size distribution was approximated by using 30 discrete droplet size groups. Droplet momentum conservation equations were numerically solved to obtain the residence time of various droplet size groups in the evaporator. Evaporative cooling of droplets was modeled by solving the 1-D heat conduction equation in spheres, and accounting for droplet internal circulation by an empirical thermal diffusivity multiplier. The model was shown to favorably predict the available single-spout experimental data.

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