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Journal of Enhanced Heat Transfer

Impact factor: 0.562

ISSN Print: 1065-5131
ISSN Online: 1563-5074

Journal of Enhanced Heat Transfer

DOI: 10.1615/JEnhHeatTransf.v8.i3.20
pages 147-158

Oval Finned Tube Condenser and Design Pressure Limits

Ralph L. Webb
Department of Mechanical Engineering The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA
Specialist in enhanced heat transfer and heat exchanger design
Ajay Iyengar
The Trane Co., LaCrosse, WI 54601, USA


Finned tube heat exchangers presently used in the air-conditioning industry are made with round tubes (7.0−9.5 mm diameter) and plate fins of an enhanced fin geometry. The air-side pressure drop is composed of friction on the fins and pressure drag on the tubes. This work investigates the use of oval tubes to replace round tubes. This will result in higher heat transfer performance and lower air pressure drop. Of particular interest is application of the oval tube design to refrigerant condensers, which are designed for operating pressures of 31 bar, or more. This paper compares the performance of a proposed oval tube design with that of a typical 9.5 mm finned tube design. Mechanical design and fabrication are also described. A key question addressed in this work is to determine the maximum allowable internal tube pressure of the oval tube design. This question was addressed using 3-dimensional finite element stress analysis.