For the development of a high-performance heat exchanger using small channels or minichannels for air-conditioning systems, it is necessary to clarify the characteristics of vapor-liquid two-phase flow and heat transfer of refrigerants in small-diameter tubes. In this keynote paper, the related research works that have already been performed by the author and coworkers are introduced. Based on the observations and experiments of R410A flowing in small-diameter circular and noncircular tubes with hydraulic diameter of about 1 mm, the characteristics of vapor-liquid two-phase flow pattern and boiling heat transfer were clarified. In low quality or mass flux and low heat flux condition, in which the flow was mainly slug, the "liquid film conduction evaporation" heat transfer peculiar to small-diameter tubes prevailed and exhibited considerably good heat transfer compared to nucleate boiling and forced convection evaporation heat transfer. The effects of the tube cross-sectional shape and flow direction on the heat transfer primarily appeared in the region of the "liquid film conduction evaporation" heat transfer. A new heat transfer correlation considering all of three contributions has been developed for small circular tubes.
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