Abstract

Flow header for small multiple pipes is commonly used in boilers and heat exchangers. The system contributes to raise the heat transfer efficiency in the components. The flow distribution mechanism of the header for water has been studied and the calculation procedure for the design has been recommended for a single-phase condition. It is also recommended to avoid the bubbles in the header to obtain a uniform water flow rate to each small pipe. But in some cases, the header has to be used to distribute a flow containing bubbles. Distribution behavior of water with a gas-phase was studied experimentally in a horizontal header with four vertical pipes. In the present experimental header, it was possible to protrude the branch pipes inside of the header and the effect of protruding length on the water distribution behavior was studied.

When the protruding length was 0, the water distribution rate to the first pipe rapidly increased and the rates to the others decreased with a small amount of bubbles. As the bubbles in the header were absorbed only into the first pipe, the average two-phase density in the first pipe decreased. The decreased pressure head promotes the rush of water into the first pipe such as in an airlift pump. By increasing the air flow rate in the header inlet further, the flow rate to the first pipe took a maximum and then tended to decrease. The increased air flow rate in the first pipe increased the pressure loss in the pipe and resulted in a reduction in the water flow rate. The more important and serious behavior could be seen in the other pipes where the water flow rate decreased to 1/5 of the uniform distribution rate. By increasing the protruding length, the non-uniform distribution of water was suppressed because the gas-phase entered not only the first pipe but also the others. The best result was obtained when the four branch pipes were protruded into the center of header.

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