Research Papers: Heat Exchangers

Thermal Assessment of Forced Convection Through Metal Foam Heat Exchangers

[+] Author and Article Information
A. Tamayol

School of Engineering Science,  Simon Fraser University, V3T 0A3 Canadaali_tamayol@sfu.ca

K. Hooman1

School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering,  The University of Queensland, Australiak.hooman@uq.edu.au


Corresponding author.

J. Heat Transfer 133(11), 111801 (Sep 16, 2011) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4004530 History: Received April 04, 2011; Revised June 27, 2011; Published September 16, 2011; Online September 16, 2011

Using a thermal resistance approach, forced convection heat transfer through metal foam heat exchangers is studied theoretically. The complex microstructure of metal foams is modeled as a matrix of interconnected solid ligaments forming simple cubic arrays of cylinders. The geometrical parameters are evaluated from existing correlations in the literature with the exception of ligament diameter which is calculated from a compact relationship offered in the present study. The proposed, simple but accurate, thermal resistance model considers: the conduction inside the solid ligaments, the interfacial convection heat transfer, and convection heat transfer to (or from) the solid bounding walls. The present model makes it possible to conduct a parametric study. Based on the generated results, it is observed that the heat transfer rate from the heated plate has a direct relationship with the foam pore per inch (PPI) and solidity. Furthermore, it is noted that increasing the height of the metal foam layer augments the overall heat transfer rate; however, the increment is not linear. Results obtained from the proposed model were successfully compared with experimental data found in the literature for rectangular and tubular metal foam heat exchangers.

Copyright © 2011 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Schematic of the metal foam heat exchanger considered in the present study: (a) rectangular and (b) tubular

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Figure 2

Metal foam microstructure; (a) the actual geometry, (b) representative unit cell

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Figure 3

The network of ligaments forming the metal foam heat exchangers

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Figure 4

The considered thermal resistor network for calculating: (a) the equivalent resistance kth column of the ligaments; (b) the overall heat transfer rate

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Figure 5

Comparison of the present model with experimental data of Calmidi and Mahajan [9]

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Figure 6

Comparison of the present model with experimental data of Cavallini [24]

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Figure 7

Comparison of the present model for tubular heat exchangers with results of Ref. [9]

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Figure 8

Variation of NuL with Reynolds number for various PPIs

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Figure 9

Variation of NuL with Reynolds number for various porosities

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Figure 10

Variation of NuL with Reynolds number for various heat exchanger heights



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