Falling film type condensers/reboilers applied to cryogenic air separation units (ASUs) have drawn more attentions in recent years. This paper presents and analyzes a mathematical model for the falling film plate-fin condensers/reboilers (FPCR). In the modeling, both the laminar falling film evaporation and condensation processes, incorporating with interference of mass transfer and interfacial shear stress, are considered, and related to a plate-fin heat exchanger (PHX). The liquid film flow and heat transfer characteristics of oxygen and nitrogen fluids in the PHX are analyzed under given conditions by solving the model with a numerical iteration method. The variations of liquid film thicknesses and local heat transfer coefficients of oxygen and nitrogen as well as the total local heat transfer coefficient have been obtained. Furthermore, the effects of the inlet mass flow rate allocation ratio (i.e., the ratio of inlet mass flow rate of oxygen liquid over the base plate to that over the fin surfaces) on the wetted length of the heat transfer surfaces, the heat transfer performance, and the oxygen liquid circulation ratio (i.e., the ratio of the inlet liquid mass flow rate to the generated vapor mass flow rate) are also discussed. A proper inlet mass flow rate allocation ratio of oxygen liquid is presented. The wave effects are further considered and analyzed through the inclusion of a model for the wave factor.

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