For high thermal performance and effectiveness, the flat plate heat exchangers and cooling channels are designed based on the three basic criteria: (i) small heat transfer area or large surface area to volume ratio, (ii) high heat transfer rate, and (iii) small pumping power. Numerous amounts of research have been dedicated to the notion of enhancing the convective heat transfer inside the channels of a heat exchanger. Recently, the internal porous fins and porous foams of high thermal conductivity have gained considerable attentions in the research and development for their light weight, reduced fluid pumping power requirements, and high heat transfer characteristics. The results from the investigations show the enhancement of heat transfer coefficients and friction factors with the wavy screens relative to those in a smooth channel. This experimental research project aims to investigate the effects of the geometrical properties such the amplitude, period, and porosity of wavy porous mesh screen insert may have on the thermal performance of a heat exchanger and quantify the thermal performance of the channel employing the wavy porous screens for a wide range of applications at low to high Reynolds numbers. The friction factors, and heat transfer are measured in a rectangular channel when sinusoidal screen inserts are employed as turbulence promoters. The screen is made from porous mesh of flat metal screen available commercially. Two mesh screens are employed; one with a 68% porosity and one with a 48% porosity. Both mesh screens have a square shape pore and is delivered as a spool of material. The period of the screen is bent into the wavy mesh screen using a jig with two jaws. The screen wave vector is placed normal to the mean flow of the channel and allowed the peaks of the wave to make only line contact with the two larger side walls of the rectangular channel. The inlet Reynolds number for the experiments covered all three flow regimes: laminar, transition and turbulent. The measurements include the static pressure drop and wall temperature distributions along the channel. For the heat transfer experiments, the parallel walls of the channel touching the screen peaks are heated with a constant heat flux to simulate the channels in a flat plate heat exchanger. Heat transfer experiments are also obtained with one heated wall with a constant heat flux to simulate the conditions of a single channel heat exchanger employed in solar heaters and electronic cooling. Baseline data in a smooth channel without the screen inserts are also measured for comparisons with the data obtained in the same channel with the screen insert. The results on friction factors and heat transfer coefficients are then presented as ratios of data from the screen channel to the smooth channel to provide the performance of the screen channel relative to the smooth channel. The data and ratios are also presented in such a manner that the effect of change in porosity, period and amplitude of the screen insert could be studied. The sinusoidal screen inserts in the channels of a flat plate heat exchanger can provide desirable effects on the heat transfer enhancements (Nu/Nu0 > 1.0) only for the range of Reynolds number tested. The wire diameter of the mesh screen can significantly influence the thermal performance and pressure penalty provided by the wavy screen based on the present investigations and Mahmood et al. . The present results are thus beneficial to the design of porous inserts for the heat exchangers operating over a wide range of flow rates. The effects of screen porosity and wave period are strong only on the efficiency index. The present results thus indicate the viability of the wavy porous inserts for the heat exchangers.
Dissertation (MEng)--University of Pretoria, 2017.