In the expansion process of a fin-tube heat exchanger, the process variables and shape of the expansion ball affect the deformation of the tube’s inner grooves, the adhesion, and the expansion force. These factors influence the efficiency of heat transfer and the lifetime of the expansion equipment. Therefore, this study analyzed the influential variables of the tube expansion process as well as the expansion ball design through experiments and simulations. A new method was proposed to determine the severity of adhesion in the tube’s inner grooves using the expansion force rate. Expansion experiments with Al tubes show that the expansion force decreases when using a lubricant with high viscosity and when the lubricant remains on the expansion ball for a longer duration. Finite element analysis was also performed to examine the expansion of Cu tubes, which showed that the expansion force was higher when using expansion ball shapes that have higher contact area between the ball and tube surface. The radius of curvature of the expansion ball also influenced the expansion force. However, increasing the ratio of the radial force to the expansion force increased the deformation of the tube’s inner grooves.
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