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Experimental Study of a Thermosyphon Heat Exchanger (TPHE) in a Bio-diesel Factory in Thailand

  • Research Article - Mechanical Engineering
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This research presents a case study to design, construct and test a thermosyphon heat exchanger (TPHE) in a Thailand bio-diesel factory to reduce the temperature of bio-diesel after the drying process under actual operating conditions. The test rig consists of evaporator section, condenser section and unique thermosyphon. The thermosyphon was made of 17 steel tubes with an outside diameter of 32 and 1 mm wall thickness. The tubes were arranged in a staggered form of six rows. Three working fluids were sampled in the thermosyphon: distilled water, methanol and R134a. In testing performance, the mass flow rate of the feed water passing though the condenser section was 0.25 kg/s. The temperature of bio-diesel passing though the evaporator section was 120 °C and mass flow rate of the bio-diesel was set at 0.07, 0.15 and 0.21 kg/s. It was found that the maximum heat transfer rate was 12.48 kW/m2 and the experimental effectiveness was 0.38 at a mass flow rate of bio-diesel at 0.21 kg/s with R134a as the working fluid. The TPHE can reduce the temperature of the bio-diesel from 120 to 81 °C.

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A :

Total heat transfer area (m2)

C :

Capacity rate (kJ/s °C)

D :

Diameter (m)

D o :

Outside diameter (m)

D i :

Inside diameter (m)

C p :

Specific heat of the ambient air (kJ/kg °C)

m ° :

Mass flow rate (kg/s)

N :

Total number of thermosyphon

n :

Number of rows

Q :

Heat transfer (W)

q :

Heat transfer rate (kW/m2)

Z :

Thermal resistance (°C/W)

S :

Pitch (m)

T :

Temperature (°C)

L :

Length of thermosyphon (mm)

ΔT :

Temperature difference (°C)

F :

Depth of fill working fluids (m)

k :

Thermal conductivity (W/(m °C))

g :

Gravitational acceleration (m/s2)

h :

Heat transfer coefficient (W/(m °C))

A :

Surface area of evaporator (m2)

ε :

Effectiveness of exchanger





\({\bar{x}}\) :

Arithmetic mean


Standard deviation

n s :

Number of measurements in the set

c i :

Sensitivity coefficient

u i :

Standard uncertainty

u c :

Combined standard uncertainty

U :

Expand uncertainty

k :

Coverage factor












Outside area of condenser


Outside area of evaporator










Nucleate boiling


Evaporating film

type A:

For type A (repeatability)

type B:

For type B (measurement device)


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Correspondence to S. Rittidech.

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Pipatpaiboon, N., Rittidech, S. & Meena, P. Experimental Study of a Thermosyphon Heat Exchanger (TPHE) in a Bio-diesel Factory in Thailand. Arab J Sci Eng 37, 2047–2060 (2012).

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