Visualisation of heat transfer in unsteady laminar flows

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Heat transfer in fluid flows traditionally is examined in terms of temperature fields and heat-transfer coefficients. However, heat transfer may alternatively be considered as the transport of thermal energy by the total convective-conductive heat flux in a way analogous to the transport of fluid by the flow field1. The paths followed by the total heat flux are the thermal counterpart to fluid trajectories and facilitate heat-transfer visualization in a similar manner as flow visualization. This has great potential for applications in which insight into the heat fluxes throughout the entire configuration is essential (e.g., cooling systems, heat exchangers). To date, this concept has been restricted primarily to steady flows; generalization to unsteady flows is a very recent development and depends on representation of heat transfer as the "motion" of a virtual "fluid" subject to continuity. The present study expands on this generalization and demonstrates its application for thermal analyses by way of examples. Furthermore, a fundamental analogy between fluid motion and heat transfer is addressed that may pave the way to future heat-transfer studies by well-established geometrical methods from laminar-mixing studies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-47
Number of pages17
JournalComputational Thermal Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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