According to the International Copper Association, smaller diameter copper tubes increasingly are used in air conditioning and refrigeration applications in South Asia. A round tube, plate fin heat exchanger provides superior drainage and is easier to clean than a microchannel heat exchanger with serpentine fins sandwiched between ribbon-like multichannel tubes.
“A MicroGroove heat exchanger is made from smaller-diameter copper tubes,” explains Avinash Khemka, Chief Manager at International Copper Association India. “MicroGroove offers numerous advantages. MicroGroove is now emerging as preferred alternative to microchannel. MicroGroove usage continues to grow in India. It is a preferred tube for India because of its corrosion resistance,” Khemka continues. “It is true that a decade ago larger-diameter copper tubes began to lose market share to aluminium. Although a low point was reached in 2014, the corrosion resistance of copper prevailed and copper heat exchangers are now recapturing market share. The trend back toward copper has been dramatic in the last four years, as end users of aluminium microchannel experienced many cases of failure and leakage. Now end users have an energy-efficient copper alternative. MicroGroove copper has emerged as an easy-to-maintain, reliable and durable option, well suited for the tropical climate of India.
“The industry is rapidly switching to MicroGroove as a practical, economical, eco-friendly alternative to MicroChannel,” Khemka emphasised.
India is among the largest and fastest growing markets globally for room air conditioners (RACs) with about six million units sold in 2018. Increased infrastructural development, urbanization, higher standards of living and rising disposable income have all contributed to the heightened demand for air-conditioning.
Since the revision of Star Labeling by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency in 2018, AC manufacturers are specifying condensers and evaporators that transfer heat efficiently. Laboratory experiments show that heat transfer coefficients (HTCs) are the highest for smaller diameter inner-grooved copper tubes compared to larger diameter tubes and smooth tubes. Higher HTCs result in more efficient RAC systems. These systems also use less material and less refrigerant. MicroGroove coils made from smaller diameter inner-grooved copper tubes deliver an unprecedented combination of reliability and energy efficiency.