Flow boiling of ammonia and hydrocarbons: A state-of-the-art review

John R. Thome, Lixin Cheng, Gherhardt Ribatski, Luiz F. Vales

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A comprehensive review of flow boiling heat transfer, two-phase pressure drops and flow patterns of ammonia and hydrocarbons applied in air-conditioning, refrigeration and heat pump systems is presented in this paper. First, experimental studies of flow boiling of ammonia and hydrocarbons are addressed. Then, the prediction methods for flow boiling heat transfer, two-phase pressure drops and flow patterns are described. Next, comparisons of four flow boiling heat transfer and four two-phase pressure drop methods to the experimental data in smooth tubes derived from the available studies are presented. In addition, comparison of flow patterns to a flow map is presented. Based on the comparisons and analysis, recommendations on these methods are given. Furthermore, research needs on flow boiling and two-phase flow of ammonia and hydrocarbons have been identified. It is suggested that more experimental data be obtained through well conducted experiments and new prediction methods or modified ones based on the available methods be made for ammonia and hydrocarbons. In addition, the effect of oil on ammonia and hydrocarbon flow boiling and two-phase flow should be studied in order to have conclusive evidence of its effect.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)603-620
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Refrigeration
Issue number4
Early online date29 Nov 2007
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2008



  • heat exchanger
  • survey
  • evaporation
  • ammonia
  • hydrocarbon
  • heat transfer
  • pressure drop
  • two-phase flow
  • comparison
  • experiment

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