The effects of outdoor air-side fouling on frost growth and heat transfer characteristics of a microchannel heat exchanger: An experimental study

Yifeng Hu, David P. Yuill, Amir Ebrahimifakhar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Air source heat pumps have the potential to efficiently heat and cool buildings, but their effectiveness in many climates is limited by frost growth on the outdoor heat exchanger in heating mode. These heat exchanger coils are also subject to fouling from fibers and particulates outdoors. Frost and fouling have each independently been studied extensively, and newly available research on fouling provides a method to realistically foul the air-side of coils in the laboratory. The current paper uses this method to conduct the first laboratory study of the important interactions between fouling and frost growth for a heat pump outdoor coil. A microchannel heat exchanger is tested clean and fouled, with variations in fouling level, humidity, and initial face velocity of air. Air flow rate is allowed to vary with resistance, and a surprising result is that light fouling increases heat transfer and frost growth rates, even with a 3.5% reduction in initial airflow caused by the fouling. However, heavier fouling decreases both rates. When frost growth is normalized to heat transfer, it is found to be increased by fouling; i.e. the coil's sensible heat ratio decreases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number119423
JournalInternational Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer
Volume151
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2020

Keywords

  • Air source heat pump
  • Fouling
  • Frost formation
  • Heat transfer
  • Microchannel heat exchanger

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes

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