CG-8 Review of Published Methods for Tubeside Condensation

J. W. Palen and Z. H. Yang
1995; rev 08/2006

This review of tubeside condensation is an attempt to show that process heat transfer is not a “mature” technology. Even in such a relatively simple process as tubeside condensation, there are conditions for which no reasonable calculation method exists, and in nearly all regions the methods that do exist seldom agree to within engineering accuracy.

The main objective of this paper is to pinpoint regions or conditions of uncertainty, stimulating more research and analysis in these areas. Some of the trouble spots are

  • Gravity-controlled turbulent condensate films at a high Prandtl number
  • Transition regions, both between laminar and turbulent films and between shear- and gravity-controlled flows
  • Pressure drop under vacuum conditions
  • Condensation of mixtures

The most commonly used recent correlations are given in enough detail that they may be used and are evaluated in terms of logical behavior and consistency.

Finally, fouling is touched upon briefly to make the point that better correlations are not helpful unless some rethinking of the concept of the fouling factor occurs. As design methods improve, the fouling factor must become more realistic and less of a “safety” factor.