Structural Analysis of Microchannel Condenser Heat Exchangers Using Finite Element Techniques

Gregory Meeuwsen, Raghu Kumar G

Ingersoll Rand


Condenser heat exchangers are the devices used in Air conditioner systems for transferring heat from the hot refrigerant to the atmosphere. Microchannel heat exchangers mainly consist of header tubes, microchannel tubes, and fins attached to the tubes externally. The refrigerant with high pressure and high temperature from the compressor passes through these tubes and gets cooled by the process of conduction and convection heat transfer through the fins.
Structurally qualifying this assembly is very complex as the size of the microchannel ports in the tubes are very small, and there are a great quantity of slit fins to transfer heat. The entire assembly is subjected to a high temperature variation from inlet to outlet, and from the heat exchanger to the mounting structure. Capturing this temperature variation and predicting the thermal stress generated is complex. The entire unit has also to be analyzed for the dynamic conditions of transportation, especially for mobile applications.
This paper presents with the development of an equivalent simplified model of the complex heat exchanger assembly, and the thermal and dynamic analysis employed to predict operating stress and life of the assembly.