Research Update: Air-cooler Headers: Predicting Pressure Drop and Flow Distribution
Header flow maldistribution and pressure loss in air-cooled heat exchangers may significantly affect performance. Most relevant literature focuses on plate-fin and cylindrical channel headers for tubular heat exchangers. The flow in the header is affected by its internal geometry, the orientation of the nozzles on the header, and inlet flow velocity. Currently, Xace does not account for the pressure loss in the distribution or collection header, nor the impact of the maldistribution on the performance. A comprehensive parametric study is underway to address these shortcomings and provide design guidance. This study compares the results obtained via CFD simulations of a two-pass API cooler geometry with six different configurations of inlet and outlet nozzles. Additional studies are planned.