Journal of the Brazilian Society of Mechanical Sciences and Engineering
versão impressa ISSN 1678-5878
DIAS, João Paulo; BARBOSA JR., Jader R. e PRATA, Alvaro T.. Dynamics of gas bubble growth in oil-refrigerant mixtures under isothermal depressurization. J. Braz. Soc. Mech. Sci. & Eng. [online]. 2012, vol.34, n.2, pp. 155-166. ISSN 1678-5878. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1678-58782012000200007.
This paper proposes a numerical model to predict the growth of gaseous refrigerant bubbles in oil-refrigerant mixtures with high contents of oil subjected to isothermal depressurization. The model considers an Elementary Cell (EC) in which a spherical bubble is surrounded by a concentric and spherical liquid layer containing a finite amount of dissolved liquid refrigerant. The pressure reduction in the EC generates a concentration gradient at the bubble interface and the refrigerant is transported to the bubble by molecular diffusion. After a sufficiently long time, the concentration gradient in the liquid layer and the bubble internal pressure reach equilibrium and the bubble stops growing, having attained its stable radius. The equations of momentum and chemical species conservation for the liquid layer, and the material balance at the bubble interface are solved via a coupled finite difference procedure to determine the bubble internal pressure, the refrigerant radial concentration distribution and the bubble growth rate. Numerical results obtained for a mixture of ISO VG10 polyolester oil and refrigerant HFC-134a showed that the bubble growth dynamics depends on model parameters such as the initial bubble and liquid layer radii, the initial refrigerant concentration in the liquid layer, the initial pressure in the liquid phase, the decompression rate and the EC temperature. Despite its simplicity, the model demonstrated to be a potential tool for predicting bubble growth and foaming that may occur as a result of cavitation in oil-lubricated bearings and refrigerant degassing from the oil sump during compressor start-up.
Palavras-chave : refrigeration compressor; oil-refrigerant mixtures; bubble growth; numerical modeling.