A numerical study on subcooled flow boiling heat transfer in tubes with various helical angles at underwater vehicles conditions

  • Peiyu Chen
  • Shulei LiEmail author
  • Xuefeng Gao
  • Gongnan XieEmail author


As a direct source of power, the water vapor with high temperature and high pressure affects the thermal efficiency of an underwater vehicle power system. In this study, the subcooled flow boiling heat transfer performances in straight and helical tubes are studied at underwater vehicles conditions. A numerical model for the subcooled flow boiling in the tubes is established and verified by the existing experiment data. The local heat transfer capability, and content and distribution of the vapor are analyzed under various thermal conditions and helical angles. The results show that inlet mass flux, heat flux and inlet subcooling have obvious effects on the local heat transfer capacity, vapor content as well as wall temperature. It is found that the maximum local heat transfer coefficient in a helical tube increases by 20.75% compared with that in the straight one. The analyses of vapor volume fraction and secondary flow show that the vapor mainly distributes in the inside and top of tubes, and the secondary flow intensity increases along the axial direction, but it is little influenced by helical angles.


Subcooled flow boiling Enhanced heat transfer Helical angle Vapor distribution Secondary flow 

List of symbols


The wall area covered by the nucleating bubble (m2)


Specific heat (J kg−1 K−1)


Diameter (m)


Bubble departure diameter (m)


Frequency of bubble departure


The external body force (N)


The lift force (N)


The wall lubrication force (N)


The virtual mass force (N)


The turbulent dispersion (N)


Gravitational acceleration vector (m s−2)


Mass flux (kg m−2 s−1)


Heat transfer coefficient (kW m−2 K−1)


Latent heat (J)


Specific enthalpy (kJ kg−1)


Jacob number


Thermal conductivity (W m−1 K−1)

Mass transfer


Total number of phases


Nucleate site density (kg m−3)


Pressure (Pa)


Heat flux (kW m−2)


Intensity of heat exchange


Interaction force between phases


Source term


Time (s)


Temperature (K)


Velocity vector (m s−1)



Greek symbol


Vapor volume fraction


Helical angle (°)


Density (kg m−3)


Thermal conductivity (W m−1 K−1)


Thermal diffusivity (m2 s−1)


Viscosity (Pa s)


Surface tension force (N)


Stress–strain tensor


Contact angle (°)





Cross section




The convective


The evaporation



p, q

Phase representative


The quenching








Heat transfer







This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (51676163 and 51806176), the Natural Science Basic Research Plan in Shaanxi Province of China (Program No. 2018JQ5159), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (3102018zy004), the Fundamental Research Fund of Shenzhen City of China (JCYJ20170306155153048) and the National 111 Project (B18041).


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Marine Science and TechnologyNorthwestern Polytechnical UniversityXi’anPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Suzhou Institute of Nano-Tech and Nano-bionicsChinese Academy of SciencesSuzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Research and Development Institute of Northwestern Polytechnical University in ShenzhenShenzhenPeople’s Republic of China

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