Condensation inside a Shell and Tube Condenser, ANSYS Fluent Training

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The present problem simulates the condensation process inside a shell and tube condenser using ANSYS Fluent software.

This product includes a Mesh file and a comprehensive Training Movie.

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Project Description

The present problem simulates the condensation process inside a shell and tube condenser using ANSYS Fluent software. The process of condensation means the conversion of a fluid from a gaseous phase to a liquid phase; This means that when the fluid vapor reaches a saturation temperature, it turns into a liquid. The heat that causes a phase change between a liquid and a gas is called latent heat. In this simulation, the vapor stream of saturated water is converted to liquid water at saturation temperature. Since two different phases occur in the solution process, it is necessary to define a multiphase flow.

For this simulation, a multiphase mixture model is used; Because the two phases of liquid water and water vapor are thoroughly mixed together. Also, to define the condensation, a mass transfer in the form of evaporation-condensation must be defined. The saturation temperature for the occurrence of the condensation process is defined as 46 ºC, and the time frequency coefficient of this mass transfer is defined as 0.1. In this modeling, the condensation process takes place inside a shell and tube condenser. Thus, the flow of cooling water flows through the condenser pipes (tube) with a flow rate of 5 kg.s-1 and a temperature of 20 ºC.

The flow of water vapor inside the interior of the shell with a speed of 10 ms-1 and in the saturation temperature is equivalent to 46 ºC. Therefore, saturated steam undergoes a condensation process due to contact with the outer surface of the inner cold pipes, and its temperature drops to a temperature below the saturation temperature. As a result, liquid water is produced.

Geometry & Mesh

The present model is designed in three dimensions using Design Modeler software. The model is a shell & tube type condenser heat exchanger designed horizontally. A shell with two baffles is designed to carry hot water, and four rows of pipes are placed inside the shell to carry cold water. Due to the symmetrical structure of the heat exchanger, the model is semi-drawn.


We carry out the model’s meshing using ANSYS Meshing software. The mesh type is unstructured. The element number is 342486. The following figure shows the mesh.


Condensation CFD Simulation

We consider several assumptions to simulate the present model:

  • We perform a pressure-based solver.
  • The simulation is steady.
  • The gravity effect on the fluid is ignored.

The following table represents a summary of the defining steps of the problem and its solution:

Viscous k-epsilon
k-epsilon model standard
near wall treatment standard wall functions
Multiphase Model Mixture
number of eulerian phases 2 (water & steam)
formulation implicit
interface modeling dispersed
Energy On
Boundary conditions
Inlet – Cold Water Mass Flow Inlet
temperature 20 ºC
mass flow rate – water 5 kg.s-1
mass flow rate – steam 0 kg.s-1
Inlet – Hot steam Velocity Inlet
temperature 46 ºC
velocity magnitude 10 m.s-1
volume fraction – water 0
Outlet – Water Pressure Outlet
gauge pressure 0 pascal
Outlet – Steam Pressure Outlet
gauge pressure 0 pascal
Inner Wall Wall
wall motion stationary wall
thermal condition coupled
Outer Wall Wall
wall motion stationary wall
heat flux 0 W.m-2
Pressure-Velocity Coupling SIMPLE
Pressure PRESTO
momentum first order upwind
turbulent kinetic energy first order upwind
turbulent dissipation rate first order upwind
volume fraction first order upwind
energy first order upwind
Initialization methods Standard
gauge pressure 0 Pascal
x-velocity & z-velocity 0 m.s-1
y-velocity -2 m.s-1
temperature 26.85 ºC
volume fraction – water 0

Results & Discussions

At the end of the solution process, two-dimensional and three-dimensional contours related to pressure, velocity, temperature, water vapor volume fraction, liquid water volume fraction, and mass transfer rate between water and steam or condensation are obtained. After contact with the cold water pipes and heat transfer between the shell and the cold pipes, the contours show that the hot steam stream undergoes a temperature drop, and its temperature drops below the saturation temperature. As a result, this process causes the phase change process and water vapor condensation and eventually water production in the condenser.

There are a Mesh file and a comprehensive Training Movie that presents how to solve the problem and extract all desired results.


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