Research Papers: Forced Convection

Experimental Investigation of Convection Heat Transfer in High Pressure and High Temperature Gas Flows

[+] Author and Article Information
Francisco I. Valentín

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
City College of New York,
New York, NY 10031
e-mail: fiv@creare.com

Ryan Anderson

Department of Chemical and
Biological Engineering,
Montana State University,
Bozeman, MT 59717
e-mail: ryan.anderson@montana.edu

Masahiro Kawaji

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
City College of New York, Energy Institute,
New York, NY 10031
e-mail: kawaji@me.ccny.cuny.edu

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Heat Transfer Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF HEAT TRANSFER. Manuscript received September 7, 2016; final manuscript received March 28, 2017; published online May 9, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Ali Khounsary.

J. Heat Transfer 139(9), 091704 (May 09, 2017) (12 pages) Paper No: HT-16-1561; doi: 10.1115/1.4036524 History: Received September 07, 2016; Revised March 28, 2017

This work focuses on an experimental investigation of convection heat transfer to a gas in a vertical tube under strongly heated conditions at high temperatures and pressures up to 943 K and 65 bar. A unique test facility for convection heat transfer experiments has been constructed, and used to obtain experimental data useful for better understanding and validation of numerical simulation models. This test facility consists of a single flow channel in a 2.7 m long, 0.11 m diameter graphite column with four 2.3 kW heaters placed symmetrically around the 16.8 mm diameter flow channel. Upward flow convection experiments with air and nitrogen were conducted for inlet Reynolds numbers from 1300 to 60,000, thus covering laminar, transition, and fully turbulent flow regimes. Experiments were performed at different flow rates (3.8 × 10−4 to 1.5 × 10−2 kg/s) and heater power up to 6 kW. Importantly, the data analysis considered the thermophysical properties of the gas and graphite changing with temperature and pressure. Nusselt number results are further compared to existing correlations. The effect of pressure and heater power on degraded heat transfer is examined. The analyses of the experimental data showed significant reductions in Reynolds number of up to 50% and Nusselt numbers of up to 90% between the gas inlet and outlet.

Copyright © 2017 by ASME
Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.


Ball, S. J. , and Fisher, S. E. , 2007, “ Next Generation Nuclear Plant Phenomena Identification and Ranking Tables (PIRTs) for Accident and Thermal Fluids Analysis,” Report No. NUREG/CR-6944.
Barre, B. , 2010, “ Gas-Cooled Reactors,” Handbook of Nuclear Engineering, Vol. 4, Springer, New York.
Chapin, D. , Kiffer, S. , and Nestell, J. , 2004, “ The Very High Temperature Reactor: A Technical Summary,” MPR Associates, Alexandria, VA.
Schultz, K. R. , Brown, L. C. , and Besenbruch, G. E. , 2003, “ Large-Scale Production of Hydrogen by Nuclear Energy for the Hydrogen Economy,” General Atomics, San Diego, CA, Report No. GA-A24265.
McKellar, M. G. , O'Brien, J. E. , and Herring, J. S. , 2007, “ Commercial-Scale Performance Predictions for High-Temperature Electrolysis Plants Coupled to Three Advanced Reactor Types,” Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho Falls, ID, Report No. NL/EXT-07-13575.
Torii, S. , and Yang, W. , 1997, “ Laminarization of Turbulent Gas Flow Inside a Strongly Heated Tube,” Int. J. Heat Mass Transfer, 40(13), pp. 3105–3117. [CrossRef]
Shome, B. , 2014, “ Numerical Study of Turbulent Flow in Heated Circular Tube Using Transitional Shear Stress Transport Turbulence Model,” Int. J. Therm. Sci., 79, pp. 90–102. [CrossRef]
Keshmiri, A. , Cotton, M. A. , Addad, Y. , and Lawrence, D. , 2012, “ Turbulence Models and Large Eddy Simulations Applied to Ascending Mixed Convection Flows,” Flow Turbul. Combust., 89(3), pp. 407–434. [CrossRef]
Torii, S. , and Yang, W. , 2000, “ Thermal-Fluid Transport Phenomena in Strongly Heated Channel Flows,” Int. J. Numer. Methods Heat Fluid Flow, 10(8), pp. 802–823. [CrossRef]
Gordeev, S. , Heinzel, V. , and Slobodtchouk, V. , 2005, “ Features of Convective Heat Transfer in Heated Helium Channel Flow,” Int. J. Heat Mass Transfer, 48(16), pp. 3363–3380. [CrossRef]
Mikielewicz, D. P. , Shehata, A. M. , Jackson, J. D. , and McEligot, D. M. , 2002, “ Temperature, Velocity and Mean Turbulence Structure in Strongly Heated Internal Gas Flows: Comparison of Numerical Predictions With Data,” Int. J. Heat Mass Transfer, 45(21), pp. 4333–4352. [CrossRef]
Corino, E. R. , and Brodkey, R. S. , 1969, “ A Visual Observation of the Wall Region in Turbulent Flow,” J. Fluid Mech., 37(1), pp. 1–30. [CrossRef]
McEligot, D. M. , and Jackson, D. J. , 2004, “ ‘Deterioration’ Criteria for Convective Heat Transfer in Gas Flow Through Non-Circular Ducts,” Nucl. Eng. Des., 232(3), pp. 327–333. [CrossRef]
Launder, B. E. , 1964, “ Laminarization of the Turbulent Boundary Layer by Acceleration,” MIT Gas Turbine Laboratory, Cambridge, MA, Technical Report No. 77.
Bankston, C. A. , 1970, “ The Transition From Turbulent to Laminar Gas Flow in a Heated Pipe,” Trans. ASME, Ser. C, 92(4), pp. 569–579. [CrossRef]
Coon, C. W. , and Perkins, H. C. , 1970, “ Transition From the Turbulent to the Laminar Regime for Internal Convective Flow With Large Property Variations,” Trans. ASME, Ser. C, 92(3), pp. 506–512. [CrossRef]
McEligot, D. M. , Coon, C. M. , and Perkins, H. C. , 1970, “ Relaminarization in Tubes,” Int J. Heat Mass Transfer, 13(2), pp. 431–433. [CrossRef]
Perkins, K. R. , Schade, K. W. , and McEligot, D. M. , 1973, “ Heated Laminarizing Gas Flow in a Square Duct,” Int. J. Heat Mass Transfer, 16(5), pp. 897–916. [CrossRef]
Mori, Y. , and Watanabe, K. , 1979, “ Reduction in Heated Transfer Performance Due to High Heat Flux,” Trans. Jpn. Soc. Mech. Eng., 45(397), pp. 1343–1353 (in Japanese). [CrossRef]
Ogawa, M. , Kawamura, H. , Takizuka, T. , and Akino, H. , 1982, “ Experiment on Laminarization of Strongly Heated Gas Flow in Vertical Circular Tube,” J. At. Energy Soc. Jpn., 24(1), pp. 60–67 (in Japanese). [CrossRef]
Hall, W. B. , and Jackson, J. D. , 1969, “ Laminarization of a Turbulent Pipe Flow by Buoyancy Forces,” ASME Paper No. 69-HT-55.
Jackson, J. D. , and Hall, W. B. , 1979, “ Influences of Buoyancy on Heat Transfer to Fluids Flowing in Vertical Tubes Under Turbulent Conditions,” Turbulent Forced Convection in Channels and Bundles, Vol. 2, S. Kakac , and D. B. Spalding , eds., Hemisphere Publishing, New York, pp. 613–640.
Shehata, A. M. , 1984, “ Mean Turbulence Structure in Strongly Heated Air Flows,” Ph.D. thesis, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ.
Shehata, A. M. , and McEligot, D. M. , 1998, “ Mean Structure in the Viscous Layer of Strongly-Heated Internal Gas Flows. Measurements,” Int. J. Heat Mass Transfer, 41(24), pp. 4297–4313. [CrossRef]
Lee, J. I. , Hejzlar, P. , Saha, P. , Kazimi, M. S. , and McEligot, D. M. , 2008, “ Deteriorated Turbulent Heat Transfer (DTHT) of Gas Up-Flow in a Circular Tube: Experimental Data,” Int. J. Heat Mass Transfer, 51(13–14), pp. 3259–3266. [CrossRef]
Valentín, F. I. , 2016, “ Experimental and Numerical Investigations of High Temperature Gas Heat Transfer and Flow in a VHTR Reactor Core,” Ph.D. thesis, City College of New York, New York.
Swank, W. D. , Cottle, D. L. , Valentín, F. I. , and McEligot, D. M. , 2016, “ Thermal Properties of G-348 Graphite,” Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho Falls, ID, Technical Report No. INL/EXT-09-15516.
Reyes, J. N., Jr. , Groome, J. T. , Woods, B. G. , Jackson, B. , and Marshall, T. D. , 2010, “ Scaling Analysis for the High Temperature Gas Reactor Test Section (GRTS),” Nucl. Eng. Des., 240(2), pp. 397–404. [CrossRef]
Woods, B. G., and Jackson, R. B., 2010, “ Scaling Analysis of the Depressurized Conduction Cooldown Event for the Oregon State University High Temperature Test Facility,” 5th International Conference on High Temperature Reactor Technology (HTR), Prague, Czech Republic, Oct. 18–20.
Schultz, R. R. , Bayles, P. , Hawkes, B. , Johnson, R. , Wolf, J. , and Woods, B. , 2012, “ Scaling Studies for High Temperature Test Facility and Modular High Temperature Gas-Cooled Test Facility and Modular High Temperature Gas-Cooled Reactor,” Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho Falls, ID, Report No. INL/EXT-12-24701.
Schultz, R. R., Bayless, P. D., Johnson, R. W., McCreery, G. E., Taitano, W., and Wolf, J. R., 2010, “ Studies Related to the Oregon State University High Temperature Test Facility: Scaling, the Validation Matrix, and Similarities to the Modular High Temperature Gas-Cooled Reactor,” Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho Falls, ID, Technical Report No. INL/EXT-10-19803.
Holman, J. P. , 2002, Heat Transfer, 9th ed., McGraw-Hill, New York. [PubMed] [PubMed]
McEligot, D. M. , Ormand, L. W. , and Perkins, H. C. , 1966, “ Internal Low Reynolds-Number Turbulent and Transitional Gas Flow With Heat Transfer,” ASME J. Heat Transfer, 88(2), pp. 239–245. [CrossRef]
McEligot, D. M. , 1967, “ Internal Gas Flow Heat Transfer With Slight Property Variation,” Bull. Mech Eng. Ed., 6, pp. 251–263.
Gnielinski, V. , 1976, “ New Equations for Heat and Mass Transfer in Turbulent Pipe and Channel Flow,” Int. Chem. Eng., 16(2), pp. 359–387.


Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

(a) Schematic of the high pressure/high temperature gas flow loop, (b) detailed pressure vessel schematic, and (c) schematic of the thermocouple locations where 1–4 represent different axial heights

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Modified high pressure/temperature gas flow loop

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Nitrogen circulation system with a gas booster pump

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Typical heat loss profile measured and fitted polynomial

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Average graphite temperature profiles for ten equidistant planes: (a) data for air at 23.8 bar, 0.015 kg/s, and 473 K initial midplane graphite temperature and (b) data for nitrogen at 61 bar, 4.1 × 10−3 kg/s, and 843 K midplane graphite temperature

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

Wall and bulk temperature profiles and their differences for: (a) nitrogen at 47.6 bar, 1.4 × 10−3 kg/s (Rein ≈ 5000), 853 K midplane graphite temperature and (b) nitrogen at 51 bar, 4.3 × 10−3 kg/s (Rein ≈ 15,400), 823 K midplane graphite temperature

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 7

Comparison of average Nusselt number data for air with modified Dittus–Boelter correlation (Eq. (7)) covering transitional and turbulent flow regimes, obtained under different pressures, flow rates, and heater power. Fluid properties were evaluated at the average bulk temperature calculated from energy balances.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 8

Variations of average Nusselt numbers with Re0.8Pr0.4 for nitrogen data with fluid properties evaluated (a) assuming a linear bulk temperature profile and (b) at the average of the 11 local bulk temperatures obtained from an energy balance

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 9

Comparison of local Nusselt number data for (a) air and (b) nitrogen with modified Dittus–Boelter and Gnielinski correlations

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 10

Reynolds number reductions due to heating for (a) air at 13.6 bar and a midplane temperature of 623 K and (b) nitrogen at pressures of 51 and 61.2 bar and a midplane temperature of 853 K

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 11

Axial variations of local Nusselt numbers in the flow channel for (a) air and (b) nitrogen; legend corresponds to inlet and outlet Reynolds numbers (×10−3)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 12

Axial variations of parameters leading to reductions in the local Nusselt and Reynolds numbers: (a) air at 13.6 bar, 0.015 kg/s, 473 K midplane graphite temperature, Rein = 49,200, Reout = 34,500 and (b) N2 at 61 bar, 3.9 × 10−3 kg/s and 853 K midplane graphite temperature, Rein = 13,900, Reout = 7700

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 13

Local Nusselt number versus local Reynolds number at the ninth axial plane near the test section outlet for 16 nitrogen tests

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 14

(a) Axial reductions in local Reynolds number for nitrogen under different heater power: 48 bar, 1.4 × 10−3 kg/s, (b) percent reduction in local Reynolds number as a function of the outlet gas temperature (from 18 nitrogen experiments at two pressures: 52 bar and 62 bar and average gas velocities: 0.1–0.6 m/s), (c) variation of the mean heat transfer coefficient (HTC) with the mean Reynolds number, and (d) mean heat transfer coefficient as a function of the mean bulk temperature for the same data shown in (c)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 15

(a) Variation of mean heat transfer coefficient with pressure for nitrogen under fixed conditions (1.9 × 10−3 kg/s and 1.5 × 10−3 kg/s, 863 K midplane graphite temperature) and (b) Eq. (12) divided by Tout plotted for 18 nitrogen runs



Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging and repositioning the boxes below.

Related Journal Articles
Related eBook Content
Topic Collections

Sorry! You do not have access to this content. For assistance or to subscribe, please contact us:

  • TELEPHONE: 1-800-843-2763 (Toll-free in the USA)
  • EMAIL: asmedigitalcollection@asme.org
Sign In