Visualization experimental study on NO2 condensation process: insights into gas-fog-liquid-ice mode evolution

Ningqi Sun, Yingshu Liu, Ziyi Li, Jiaxin Liu, Xiong Yang, Wenhai Liu, Chunyu Zhao, Paul A. Webley, Ralph T. Yang

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Pure nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is a profitable feedstock for production of various chemicals. The condensation technology plays an essential role in NO2 enrichment during production or resource recovery from industrial exhausts, which, however, remains challenging in process optimization due to the lack of thorough comprehension on NO2 condensation behavior. In this work, the visualization experiments of NO2 condensation on the vertical SS316 surface at varying temperatures, NO2 mole fractions and volume flow rates in the absence and presence of non-condensable gas (NCG) were conducted. Three major NO2 condensation modes, the fog mode, the droplet-streamlet-film (DSF) coexistence mode, and the freezing mode, have been identified. The formation process of NO2 gas-fog-droplet-DSF mode as well as the occurrence frequency of streamlets (OFS) was quantified under different conditions. The higher OFS was found to contribute to greater overall heat transfer coefficient and condensate amount, showing the optimal parameters at each condition. Deeper insights into gas-fog, gas-liquid, and gas-ice phase transformations for NO2 were gained, revealing the unique effects of dimerization of NO2 to N2O4 on condensation. The dimerization triggers the facile formation (< 10 s) of N2O4 fog with increased intermolecular forces, the heterogeneity of heat and mass transfer in DSF mode with complex heat resistance network and condensate states, and the melting-thickening cycle of ice layer in the freezing process along with the release of dimerization reaction heat. The findings render a microscopic view of favorable heat and mass transfer towards optimal NO2 condensation strategies in practical uses.

Original languageEnglish
Article number122446
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


  • Condensation
  • Heat and mass transfer
  • Mode evolution
  • Nitrogen dioxide (NO)
  • Non-condensable gas

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