A Novel Approach to Study the Performance of Finned-Tube Heat Exchangers under Frosting Conditions


1 Faculté de Génie, Département de Génie Mécanique, Université de Sherbrooke, 2500, boul. De l'Université, Sherbrooke, J1K 2R1, Québec, Canada.

2 Ressources Naturelles Canada, 1615 Boulevard Lionel-Boulet CP 4800, Varennes, J3X 1S6, Québec, Canada.


Frost accumulation due to moist air flowing on a refrigeration coil cold surface impacts negatively on performance. The frost layer growth has an insulating effect in terms of heat transfer and causes the increase of the air pressure drop by blocking the free flow area across the coil. In this paper a new modeling approach, accounting for heat and mass transfer as well as the hydrodynamics of the problem, is proposed. A related FORTRAN program was developed, allowing the study of a large range of complex refrigerant circuit configurations. This model predicts the dynamic behavior of a refrigeration coil under dry and frosting conditions. Comparisons were made based on the frost mass accumulation and pressure drop across the coil and the results were found to agree reasonably well with experimental results reported in the literature. The model was then applied to study an evaporator typically employed in supermarkets. In terms of refrigerant temperature glide, it was shown that the glide decrease with time because of the decrease of the refrigeration capacity of the coil during the frosting. Further, the air pressure drop is strongly affected by the variation of the free flow area.