A new three-dimensional CFD model for efficiency optimisation of fluid-to-air multi-fin heat exchanger

Miftah Altwieb, Krzysztof Kubiak, Aliyu Aliyu, Rakesh Mishra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


New simulation and experimental results have been obtained and are presented for a multi-tube fin heat exchanger unit, from which semi-analytical correlations for the Fanning friction and Colburn factors were developed. The multi-tube and fin heat exchanger represents the main component of the Fan Coil Unit, an essential component of HVAC systems used for domestic and commercial heating and cooling. Improving the efficiency of the heat exchanger typically comes at the expense of higher pressure drops or costlier materials and production costs. Here, an experimental setup was designed and constructed to evaluate the thermal performance of such a heat exchanger. Geometrical modifications were explored for thermal performance enhancement. Furthermore, full three-dimensional CFD case studies of the heat exchanger were investigated to examine the effect of the geometrical features on the air side of the heat exchanger to study the effect of fin spacing, transverse and longitudinal pitches. The CFD model developed was first globally validated against experimental results. The model results were used to predict the Fanning and Colburn factors and the local fin efficiency based on the carefully selected geometric parameters. The data obtained was utilised to develop two new semi-analytical models for the Fanning and Colburn friction factors which were well within ±10% error bands and showed strong correlation coefficients of more than 98 and 97% respectively.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100658
Number of pages13
JournalThermal Science and Engineering Progress
Early online date21 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020


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