Several applications, including those in the energy sector that require high thermal efficiency, such as those in the solar energy industry, require a careful thermal analysis of heat exchange components. In this regard, thermal resistance is a major cause of exergy destruction and must be minimised as much as possible, but also adequately designed.
In the past, a number of correlations have been developed to predict heat transfer coefficients in compact heat exchangers. The designers of such heat exchangers often exploit the development of thermal boundary layers to achieve higher overall efficiency due to increases in local heat transfer coefficients. However, most of the correlations that have been developed for heat exchangers neglect the specific effect of the thermal boundary layer development in the inlet region, and instead only offer effective average heat transfer coefficients, which most users assume to be constant throughout the heat exchanger. This is often an over-simplification and leads to over-designed heat exchangers.
In this study, focus is placed on annular flow passages with uniform heating on the inner wall. This geometry has many applications. This study aims to collect experimental heat transfer data for water at various flow rates and inlet geometries, to process the data and determine local and overall heat transfer coefficients, and to develop an improved local heat transfer coefficient correlation.
Experimental tests were performed on a horizontal concentric tube-in-tube heat exchanger with a length of 1.05 m and a diameter ratio of 0.648. The surface of the inner tube was treated with thermochromic liquid crystals (TLCs), which allowed for high-resolution temperature mapping of the heated surface when combined with an automated camera position system in order to determine local heat transfer coefficients. Conventional in-line and out-of-line annular inlet configurations were evaluated for Reynolds numbers from 2 000 to 7 500, as well as the transition from laminar to turbulent flow for a single in-line inlet configuration.
It was found that the local heat transfer coefficients were significantly higher at the inlets, and decreased as the boundary layers developed. With the high resolution of the results, the local heat transfer coefficients were investigated in detail. Local maximum and minimum heat transfer coefficients were identified where the thermal boundary layers merged for high turbulent flow cases. The annular inlet geometries only influenced the heat transfer for Reynolds numbers larger than 4 000, for which larger inlets are favoured. Out-of-line inlet geometries are not favoured for heat transfer. A new heat transfer correlation was developed from the experimental data, based on an existing heat transfer correlation for turbulent flow in an annular flow passage, considering the boundary layer development. The new correlation estimated the area-weighted heat transfer coefficients within 10% of the experimental data and closely followed trends for local heat transfer coefficients.
Dissertation (MEng)--University of Pretoria, 2017.