Effect of groove dimension on thermal performance of turbulent fluid flow in internally grooved tube

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


A Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) study of heat enhancement in helically grooved tubes was carried out by using a 3-dimensional simulation with the STARCCM+ simulation package software. The κ-ϵ model selected for turbulent flow simulation and the governing equations were solved by using the finite volume method. Geometric models of the current study include 3 rectangular grooved tubes with different groove width (w) and depth (e) which varies from 0.2 mm to 0.6 mm for the same tube length of 2.0m and diameter of 7.1 mm. The simulations were performed in the Reynolds number (Re) range of 4000-10000 with a uniform wall heat flux of 3150 w/m2 applied as a boundary condition on the surface of each tube. The purpose of this research is to investigate the effect of different groove dimensions on the thermal performance and pressure drop of water inside the grooved tubes and clarify the structural nature of the flow in regards to flow swirl and turbulent kinetic energy distributions. It was found that the highest performance belongs to the groove with these dimensions (w=0.2 mm and e=0.2 mm) which was considered for further study. Then, for these same groove dimensions four pitch size to tube diameter (p/D) ratios ranging from 1 to 18 were simulated for the same 2.0 m length tube. The results for Nusselt number (Nu) and friction factor (f ) showed that by increasing the (p/D) ratio both the Nu numbers and the friction factors ( f ) values decrease. With a smaller pitch length (p) the turbulence intensity generated by the internal groove was also found to increase. The physical behavior of the turbulent flow and heat transfer characteristics were observed by contour plots which showed an increasing swirl flow and turbulent kinetic energy as p/D decreases. With an increase of the Nu number for smaller p/D ratio, a penalty of a higher pressure drop was obtained. The results were validated with a previous experimental work and the average error between the experimental and CFD Nu numbers and f were 13% and 8% respectively. A higher level of turbulent kinetic energy is observed near the grooves, as compared to the smooth areas of the pipe surface away from the grooves, which are expected to lead to higher levels of heat transfer. The effect of pitch length (p) on the flow pattern were plotted by streamlines along the tubes, by decreasing the pitch size (p/D ratio) an increase in the swirl is noticed as evidenced by the plots of the path lines. Finally, empirical correlations for Nusselt number and friction factor were provided as a function of p/D and Re number. This study indicates that the incorporation of the internal groove, of particular dimensions, can lead to an improvement of performance in heat exchanger devices. A limited variation of the groove dimensions was conducted and it was found that the values of Nu and f do not improve with an increase of (w) nor with that of (e) from 0.2-0.6 mm. Copyright © 2016 by ASME.

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