Studies in the literature have shown that zeotropic mixture condensation rates are lower than those predicted using a pure-fluid approach. This has been attributed to the decrease in fluid temperature that occurs with zeotropic mixtures and to the development of concentration gradients in the vapor-phase that limit the condensation heat transfer. The decrease in the apparent heat transfer coefficient is not consistent across mass fluxes, tube diameters, fluid combinations, saturation pressures, and concentrations. Several modeling techniques exist, which allow engineers to model the decrease in heat transfer rates. This study provides guidelines on when the mass transfer effects can be neglected and when it is appropriate to apply established models in the literature. A condensation database containing fluid combinations of pairs of hydrocarbons, ammonia and water, and synthetic refrigerants across large changes in operating conditions, tube diameters, and concentrations is used to validate the approach. The proposed framework predicts that the Bell and Ghaly (1973, “An Approximate Generalized Design Method for Multicomponent/Partial Condensers,” AIChE Symp. Ser., 69, pp. 72–79) approach is valid for mid- and high-reduced pressures, i.e., above 0.40, while explicitly accounting for mass transfer is necessary at lower reduced pressures, i.e., below 0.40, where the influence of the temperature glide in the Bell and Ghaly method is weighted too strongly.

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