Condensation forms when steam meets a medium with a lower temperature than the saturation temperature for the existing partial pressure of the steam. Factors such as the material and surface roughness of the medium influence the heat transfer and thus the type of condensation. In practice, it is usually film condensation. Dropwise condensation only forms when the cooling surface is very smooth and poorly wettable, e.g. Teflon. Knowledge of condensation processes is applied e.g. in steam power plants or at distillation processes.
The WL 230 experimental unit can be used to demonstrate the different condensation processes using two tubular shaped water-cooled condensers made of different materials. Dropwise condensation can be demonstrated by means of the condenser with a polished gold-plated surface. Film condensation forms on the matt copper surface of the second condenser, thus making it possible to examine film condensation.
The tank can be evacuated via a water jet pump. The boiling point and the pressure in the system are varied by cooling and heating power. Sensors record the temperature, pressure and flow rate at all relevant points. The measured values can be read on digital displays. At the same time, the measured values can also be transmitted directly to a PC via USB. The data acquisition software is included. The heat transfer coefficient is calculated from the measured values. The influence of non-condensing gases, pressure and the temperature difference between the surface and steam can be examined in further experiments.