Tuo, H., Bielskus, A., and Hrnjak, P., "Experimentally Validated Model of Refrigerant Distribution in a Parallel Microchannel Evaporator," SAE Int. J. Mater. Manf. 5(2):365-374, 2012, doi:10.4271/2012-01-0321.
This paper develops a model for a parallel microchannel evaporator that incorporates quality variation at the tube inlets and variable mass flow rates among tubes. The flow distribution is based on the equal pressure drop along each flow path containing headers and tubes. The prediction of pressure drop, cooling capacity, and exit superheat strongly agree with 48 different experimental results obtained in four configurations using R134a. Predicted temperature profiles are very close to infrared images of actual evaporator surface. When compared to the uniform distribution model (that assumes uniform distribution of refrigerant mass flow rate and quality) results from the new model indicate superior prediction of cooling capacity, and exit superheat. Model results indicate maldistribution of refrigerant mass flow rate among the parallel tubes, caused primarily by pressure drop in the outlet header.