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Heat Transfer Studies of a Heat Pipe

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  • Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology, Patiala, Punjab, India

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The present investigation reports a theoretical and experimental study of a wire screen heat pipe, the evaporator section of which is subjected to forced convective heating and the condenser section to natural convective cooling in air. The theoretical study deals with the development of an analytical model based on thermal resistance network approach. The model computes thermal resistances at the external surface of the evaporator and condenser as well as inside the heat pipe. A test rig has been developed to evaluate the thermal performance of the heat pipe. The effects of operating parameters (i.e., tilt angle of the heat pipe and heating fluid inlet temperature at the evaporator) have been experimentally studied. Experimental results have been used to compare the analytical model. The heat transfer coefficients predicted by the model at the external surface of the evaporator and condenser are reasonably in agreement with experimental results.
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Heat Transfer Engineering, 28(11):954–965, 2007
Copyright
C
Taylor and Francis Group, LLC
ISSN: 0145-7632 print / 1521-0537 online
DOI: 10.1080/01457630701421810
Heat Transfer Studies of a Heat Pipe
VIKAS KUMAR
Centre for Development of Advanced Computing, Pune University Campus, Maharashtra, India
D. GANGACHARYULU and RAM GOPAL TATHGIR
Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology, Punjab, India
The present investigation reports a theoretical and experimental study of a wire screen heat pipe, the evaporator section of
which is subjected to forced convective heating and the condenser section to natural convective cooling in air. The theoretical
study deals with the development of an analytical model based on thermal resistance network approach. The model computes
thermal resistances at the external surface of the evaporator and condenser as well as inside the heat pipe. A test rig has
been developed to evaluate the thermal performance of the heat pipe. The effects of operating parameters (i.e., tilt angle of
the heat pipe and heating fluid inlet temperature at the evaporator) have been experimentally studied. Experimental results
have been used to compare the analytical model. The heat transfer coefficients predicted by the model at the external surface
of the evaporator and condenser are reasonably in agreement with experimental results.
INTRODUCTION
The heat pipe has been recognized as a very efficient heat
transport device. In conventional form, as shown in Figure 1,
it consists of an evacuated cylindrical container with a wick
structure on its inside surface. The wick is saturated with a com-
patible working fluid. Heat pipes are used in various thermal
engineering applications for heat removal and waste heat re-
covery under forced convection as well as under natural con-
vection [1–4]. Although forced convection cooling of engineer-
ing equipment is more prevalent, there are still various types
of industrial/electronic equipment, such as oil-cooled electrical
transformers and insulated gate bipolar transistors, of which the
radiators/heat sinks are subjected to cooling under natural con-
vection due to its inherent advantages (e.g., a reduction in the
operating cost associated with forced convection, being noise
free, reliability [5–7]). To employ heat pipes for an industrial
application, it is desirable to know its thermal performance a
priori under various operating conditions. The thermal perfor-
mance depends on various radial and axial thermal resistances
at the evaporator, condenser, and inside the heat pipe [1–4, 8].
The condenser thermal resistance decreases as the operating
temperature increases [9, 10]. A number of empirical correla-
tions have been reported to determine individual heat transfer
Address correspondence to Dr. Vikas Kumar, Centre for Development of
Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Pune University Campus, Ganeshkhind Road,
Pune, 411 007, Maharashtra, India. E-mail: vikaskumar
gupta@yahoo.com
coefficient on the external surface of the evaporator and con-
denser and inside the heat pipe [1, 11–13].
The work described in this paper includes the development of
an analytical model and experimental investigation at low tem-
perature (40–70
C). The evaporator portion of the heat pipe is
subjected to forced convection heating and the condenser portion
to natural convection cooling. Experimental studies have been
conducted at different heating fluid temperatures and tilt angles.
Some typical experimental results have been used to compare
the individual and overall heat transfer coefficient predicted by
the model with those obtained from experiments to validate the
model. This model could be useful for analyzing cooling design
of industrial equipment, which may use annular finned heat pipe
under natural convection.
HEAT PIPE DESIGN AND FABRICATION
The various considerations for the design of a heat pipe in-
clude selection of working fluid, container, wick materials, wick
design, and computation of heat transport limits. The working
fluid is selected based on the cost, availability, compatibility
with wick and container materials, and operating vapor tem-
perature range. The other prime considerations for selection of
working fluid are wettability, good thermal stability, high latent
heat, high surface tension, low liquid and vapor viscosities, and a
vapor pressure not too high or low at the operating temperature
range. In the low temperature range of 30–200
C, water has
954
V. KUMAR ET AL. 955
Figure 1 A schematic diagram of heat pipe.
better heat transport and conductance properties, as compared to
other working fluids like ammonia, pentane, acetone, methanol,
heptane, and ethanol, and it is cheaply available. Based upon
these considerations, distilled water is chosen as the working
fluid. The amount of working fluid required should be sufficient
to saturate the wick and fill the core volume in the vapor phase.
The heat pipe should be neither underfilled nor overfilled. An
underfilled pipe may result in the degradation of performance
and an overfill may result in condenser blockage. The fluid in-
ventory required for the heat pipe has been calculated by using
the following equation [1]:
M = A
v
L
t
ρ
v
+ A
w
L
t
ε
o
ρ
l
(1)
Copper has been selected as the material for the heat pipe
container, considering its superior thermal conductance prop-
erty, cost advantage, and ease of fabrication, and it is also com-
patible with water [1]. Keeping these considerations in mind, a
copper pipe with 25.40 mm outer diameter and 22.00 mm inner
Table 1 Heat transport limitations of the heat pipe at different evaporator temperatures
Heat transport limit, W
Number Operating limit 30
C40
C50
C60
C70
C80
C90
C 100
C
1. Capillary
0
tilt
26.3 30.9 35.7 40.4 44.6 48.3 51.2 53.6
25
tilt
99.4 118.8 139.5 160.6 180.9 199.6 216.4 231.9
2. Sonic 6.0 × 10
3
9.4 × 10
3
1.4 × 10
4
2.2 × 10
4
3.4 × 10
4
5.1 × 10
4
7.5 × 10
4
1.1 × 10
5
3. Entrainment 4.0 × 10
3
4.8 × 10
3
5.9 × 10
3
7.1 × 10
3
8.6 × 10
3
1.0 × 10
4
1.2 × 10
4
1.4 × 10
4
4. Boiling 1.7 × 10
6
1.1 × 10
5
7.5 × 10
4
5.0 × 10
4
3.4 × 10
4
2.3 × 10
4
1.6 × 10
4
1.1 × 10
4
5. Viscous 6.5 × 10
6
9.6 × 10
6
1.4 × 10
7
2.0 × 10
7
3.0 × 10
7
4.3 × 10
7
6.0 × 10
7
8.3 × 10
7
From horizontal axis.
diameter and having a length of 800 mm has been considered
for fabrication of the heat pipe. The gravity-assisted heat pipes
permit the maximum liquid flow rate for mesh with pore size
such as 100 or 150. Based on these considerations, two lay-
ers of phosphorus bronze wire screen (125 mesh number and
0.085 mm diameter) have been considered for the fabrication
of the wick to maintain the optimum ratio of r
v
/r
o
approxi-
mately equal to
2/3 [2, 14]. The evaporator length of the
heat pipe is 330 mm so that the aspect ratio (L
e
/d
o
) is greater
than 10.0 in order to get better thermal performance [15]. The
condenser length of the heat pipe is 400 mm, and it has been
provided with 41 annular aluminum fins (50.8 mm diameter ×
0.3 mm thick) at a pitch of 9.0 mm to enhance the rate of heat
transfer [7].
Table 1 shows heat transport limitations of the heat pipe at dif-
ferent operating conditions. The capillary limit has been found
to be the smallest of the operating limits. It increases with an
increase in the tilt angle of the heat pipe and evaporator surface
temperature.
In manufacturing the heat pipe, the copper pipe along with
wick has been cleaned. Subsequently, the pipe has been evacu-
ated using a vacuum pumping system, followed by a leak test.
Distilled water has been used as working fluid, and after charg-
ing, the end of the fill tube is flattened and pinched using crimp-
ing tool and welded using TIG (tungsten/inert-gas) welding tech-
niques. The fabricated heat pipe is suitable for cooling of indus-
trial equipment operating at low temperature in the range of
40–90
C.
ANALYTICAL MODEL
The heat pipe has been modeled by adopting a thermal resis-
tance network approach. A schematic diagram of the associated
thermal resistances is shown in Figure 2. In the radial direction,
these resistances occur at the interface of the heat source and
external heat pipe wall, in the heat pipe wall, at the liquid-wick
interface of the evaporator and condenser, and at the external
condenser section of the heat pipe and heat sink or surrounding.
In axial direction, the thermal resistances occur in the vapor core
between the evaporator and condenser. The thermal resistance
of vapor flow from the evaporator to the condenser is very small
heat transfer engineering vol. 28 no. 11 2007
956 V. KUMAR ET AL.
Figure 2 Thermal resistance network of a heat pipe heated by a fluid at an
average temperature of Th and cooled by a fluid at an average temperature of
T
.
compared to the thermal resistances, which exist at the external
surface of evaporator and condenser [3].
The analytical model has been formulated based on the com-
putation of various individual thermal resistances at the external
surface of evaporator and condenser and inside the heat pipe [1,
13]. The overall heat transfer coefficient of the heat pipe has
been computed as follows:
1
U
= R
h
+ R
HP
+ R
c
=
1
h
h
+
1
U
HP,p
+
1
h
c
(2)
The following parameters have been computed for developing
the model.
The heat transfer coefficient on the external surface of evap-
orator has been computed by using the following correlation
[11]:
h
h
= 4.55Re
0.733
Pr
0.362
(3)
where
Re =
vD
h
ν
,
v =
4V
f
π
D
2
d
2
o
, and
D
h
=
D
2
d
2
o
D + d
o
Heat transport rate of the heat pipe is calculated from the energy
balance:
Q = Heat input to the heat pipe
heat losses from wooden box surface
= ˙mc
p
(T
i
T
o
) h
w
× A
sw
× (T
sw
T
) (4)
The external surface temperature of the evaporator has been
computed as follows:
T
p,e
=
T
i
+ T
o
2
Q
h
h
A
e
(5)
where
A
e
= πd
o
L
e
The internal heat transfer coefficient of the heat pipe and the
condenser surface temperature are calculated based on the fol-
lowing correlations [1].
Inside heat transfer coefficient:
U
HP,p
=
1
R
p,e
+ R
w,e
+ R
v
+ R
w,c
+ R
p,c
(6)
Thermal resistance of heat pipe wall at evaporator:
R
p,e
=
r
o
t
p
2L
e
k
p
(7)
Thermal resistance of wick at evaporator:
R
w,e
=
r
2
o
t
w
2L
e
r
i
k
e,e
(8)
Effective thermal conductivity of liquid saturated wick at evap-
orator:
k
e,e
=
k
l
[k
l
+ k
w
(1 ε
o
)(k
l
k
w
)]
[k
l
+ k
w
+ (1 ε
o
)(k
l
k
w
)]
, k
e,e
= k
e,c
(9)
Thermal resistance of vapor flow from evaporator to condenser:
R
v
=
πr
2
o
F
v
L
e
6
+ L
a
+
L
c
6
T
v,e
ρ
v
λJ
(10)
where
F
v
=
(f
v
Re
v
)ν
v
2A
v
r
2
h,v
λ
Thermal resistance of wick at condenser:
R
w,c
=
r
2
o
t
w
2L
c
r
i
k
e,c
(11)
Thermal resistance of heat pipe wall at condenser:
R
p,c
=
r
o
t
p
2L
c
k
p
(12)
External surface temperature of condenser:
T
p,c
= T
p,e
Q
U
HP,p
A
p
(13)
where A
p
is the-cross sectional area of the heat pipe.
For determining the heat transfer coefficient at the external
surface of condenser, thermo-physical properties of air are cal-
culated at film temperature (T
f
):
T
f
=
(Wall temparature +Ambient temperature)
2
(14)
heat transfer engineering vol. 28 no. 11 2007
V. KUMAR ET AL. 957
Grashof number and Nusselt number are computed as follows
[6, 16]:
Gr =
gβ(T
p,c
T
)l
3
ν
2
(15)
where the characteristic length of finned surface, l, is calculated
from its basic definition given below:
l = S + 2 A
f
/P
f
(16)
For inclined position l is taken as l sin ψ, where ψ is the incli-
nation angle from horizontal.
The following empirical relations [12] have been used for
calculating the Nusselt number. For laminar flow,
Nu
plate
=0.68 +
0.670Ra
1/4
[1 +(0.492/ Pr)
9/16
]
4/9
for 0 < Ra < 10
9
(17)
For the entire range of Ra,
Nu
plate
=
0.825 +
0.387Ra
1/6
[1 + (0.492/ Pr)
9/16
]
8/27
2
(18)
The Nusselt number is modified by using a correction factor for
a cylinder:
Nu = Nu
plate
(1 + 1.43ζ
0.9
) (19)
where
ζ = (l/d
o
)Gr
1/4
Heat transfer coefficient on the outside surface of the condenser,
h
c
:
h
c
=
Nuk
l
(20)
Heat Transfer
The heat transported by the heat pipe includes heat transferred
by convection and radiation from the condenser surface:
Q
T
= Q
C
+ Q
R
(21)
The heat transferred by convection from condenser surface has
been computed as follows:
Q
C
= h
c
(A
o
+ A
f
η
f
)(T
p,c
T
) (22)
where, as given by [13], the overall fin surface efficiency is
expressed as
η
f
= 1
A
f
A
c
(1 η)
and the fin effectiveness is given by
η =
tanh φ
φ
with the following parameters:
φ = mL(R
)
exp(0.13mL1.3863)
,
R
=
d
f,o
d
o
, and
m =
2h
k
f
t
f
The heat transferred by radiation from condenser surface has
been computed as follows:
Q
R
= σ (A
o
+ A
f
η
f
)εF
T
4
p,c
T
4
(23)
Computer Code
The various equations used for the computation of overall
heat transfer coefficient have been solved using an iterative pro-
cedure by a computer code. The flowchart of the program is
shown in Figure 3. The input parameters required for the code
are heating fluid flow rate and its temperature at the inlet of
evaporator jacket, geometry of heating fluid path, dimensions
of heat pipe, wick and fin, and ambient temperature. This pro-
gram has three subroutines, called WATPROP, AIRPROP, and
METPROP, in which the properties of water, air, and metal are
calculated at different operating temperatures. The code com-
putes individual heat transfer coefficient on the external surface
of evaporator and condenser, inside the heat pipe, fin efficiency,
and the overall heat transfer coefficient.
TEST RIG
A schematic diagram of the test setup to evaluate the thermal
performance of the heat pipe is shown in Figure 4. The test rig
has been provided with hinged type iron stand such that the ther-
mal performance of the heat pipe in the bottom heating mode
and the effect of air convection on the finned condenser can be
evaluated at different tilt angles to the horizontal. The evaporator
section of the heat pipe is enclosed in a cylindrical jacket made
of galvanized iron pipe (75 mm diameter and 450 mm length).
The evaporator heating jacket is insulated with glass wool and
housed in a wooden box, the angle of which can be changed.
The fins at the heat pipe condenser end are exposed to ambi-
ent environment with no forced convection. Hot water has been
used as the heating medium to supply the thermal energy to the
evaporator of the heat pipe. Water is heated using an electrical
heater in a heating tank, which is insulated with glass wool and
housed in a wooden box. The power input to the heater has been
controlled by a variac and measured by load manager (Elcontrol
Energy). The hot water from the heating tank has been circu-
lated in flexible PVC pipe using a pump through the cylindrical
jacket, which has provision for inlet and outlet. The calibrated
heat transfer engineering vol. 28 no. 11 2007
958 V. KUMAR ET AL.
Figure 3 Flowchart for thermal performance evaluation of a heat pipe.
rotameter has been used for measuring the flow rate of hot water.
The data-acquisition system (Hewlett Packard-34970) has been
used to monitor the axial temperature profile at the external
surface of the heat pipe and the inlet and outlet of the evapo-
rator jacket using T-type copper/constantan thermocouple (R S
components, 219-4680). Micro-foil heat flux sensors (RdF Cor-
poration, 204555-3) have been fixed on the surface of wooden
box at different locations to measure the heat flux through the
heat transfer engineering vol. 28 no. 11 2007
V. KUMAR ET AL. 959
Figure 4 A schematic diagram of test rig for heat pipe.
wooden box and its surface temperature to estimate its heat
loss.
EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURE
The performance of the heat pipe has been studied by con-
ducting several test runs at a constant flow rate of heating
fluid (0.0000161 m
3
/s) in the evaporator section under labora-
tory conditions. The tilt angle of the heat pipe from the hor-
izontal axis has been varied as 15
,20
,25
,30
, and 35
,
as literature reports better thermal performance of the heat
pipe/thermosyphon at tilt angles varying from 15
to 30
[17–
19]. One more experiment was conducted under vertical con-
dition to compare its thermal performance with inclined con-
dition. The temperature of heating fluid at the evaporator inlet
has been varied as 40
C, 50
C, 60
C, and 70
C. The ambi-
ent temperature has been measured using a mercury thermome-
ter. The variation in ambient temperature is in the range of 13
± 1
C. The temperature data acquisition system and thermo-
couples have been calibrated against a precision mercury ther-
mometer at ice point and boiling point, and the variations have
been observed within the range of ±0.1
C. The temperature
readings have been recorded after achieving the steady-state
operation of the heat pipe. The error in maintaining heating
fluid temperature at the inlet of evaporator section is in the
range of ±0.5
C and in flow measurement it is of the order
of ±1.8%. The errors have been estimated using standard tech-
niques [20, 21]. The standard deviation has been calculated as
follows:
σ =
N
1
(x
i
¯
X)
2
(N 1)
(24)
The temperature difference between the inlet and outlet sections
of the evaporator jacket has been used to compute the heat
input to evaporator section. Individual heat transfer coefficient
at the surface of wooden box has been determined at different
locations by using heat flux sensors. The heat transport rate of
the heat pipe has been calculated as the difference between the
rate of heat input to the evaporator section and heat loss from
the wooden box. Individual heat transfer coefficients at the
external surface of evaporator, inside the heat pipe, and at the
external surface of condenser have been determined based on
the rate of heat transport, temperature of heating fluid, external
surface temperature of the heat pipe at the evaporator and
condenser, and ambient temperature.
EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS
Heat Transport Rate
The effect of tilt angle on the rate of heat transport is shown in
Figure 5. The figure shows that the heat transport rate of the heat
pipe increases as the tilt angle of heat pipe increases from 15
to
25
, and it decreases beyond 25
. The heat transport rate of heat
pipe at 25
tilt angle is 1–16% more than that of the same under
vertical condition. The highest heat transport rate of the heat pipe
has been obtained as 79.9 W at 70
C and 25
tilt angle. The best
thermal performance of the heat pipe under this operating con-
dition may be attributed to better exposure of condenser annular
finned surface to ambient environment and the optimum rate of
evaporation and condensate return to the evaporator, which re-
sults in its lower internal and external thermal resistance. The
best thermal performance of heat pipe/thermosyphon has been
reported in the range of 15–30
by various authors [17–19].
As the heating fluid temperature increases at the inlet of evap-
orator jacket, the heat transport rate of the heat pipe improves
Figure 5 Effect of tilt angle on the thermal performance of heat pipe.
heat transfer engineering vol. 28 no. 11 2007
960 V. KUMAR ET AL.
Figure 6 Effect of heating fluid temperature on the evaporator heat transfer
coefficient of the heat pipe.
significantly due to an increase in the condenser surface temper-
ature, which reduces external thermal resistance.
Heat Transfer Coefficient
The outside heat transfer coefficient of the evaporator at dif-
ferent heating fluid temperatures and tilt angles is presented in
Figure 6. It is greater at lower tilt angles in the range of 15–25
at
70
C heating fluid temperature, as the temperature drop between
heating fluid and outside evaporator surface temperature is less
as compared to other tilt angles (30–90
). It increases at a higher
heating fluid temperature due to reduction in its thermal resis-
tance; however, a few exceptions have been observed in some
cases, which may be attributed to the slight variation in ambient
environment and experimental error. The maximum evaporator
heat transfer coefficient has been found to be 696 W/(m
2
-K) at
a15
tilt angle and 70
C heating fluid temperature.
The internal heat transfer coefficient of the heat pipe at a
different heating fluid temperature and tilt angle is shown in
Figure 7. It increases with an increase in the tilt angle from 15
to 90
. It also increases as the heating fluid temperature increases
from 40
Cto70
C, except in a few cases. The maximum inter-
nal heat transfer coefficient of the heat pipe has been found to
be 41,327 W/(m
2
-K) at 90
tilt angle and 70
C heating fluid
temperature.
Figure 7 Effect of heating fluid temperature on the internal heat transfer co-
efficient of the heat pipe.
Figure 8 Effect of heating fluid temperature on the condenser temperature of
the heat pipe.
The outside condenser surface temperature at different tilt
angles and heating fluid temperatures is shown in Figure 8. The
maximum condenser temperature has been found to be 61.66
C
at a 90
tilt angle and 70
C heating fluid temperature, which is
1.77 times more than that at 40
C.
The outside condenser side heat transfer coefficient at various
heating fluid temperatures and different tilt angles is shown in
Figure 9. In most of the cases, these coefficients are found to be
maximum at 60
C heating fluid temperature except at 30
and
35
. It is higher at 25
as compared to other tilt angle because
the rate of heat transport is higher at this angle, which may be
due to better buoyancy driven flow in annular finned surface of
condenser. The condenser temperature is higher at 90
but the
condenser heat transfer coefficient is low, which is due to the fact
that the amount of heat transported resulting from the horizontal
position of annular fins is less, as the boundary layer may not be
fully developed at the bottom surface of fins.
The temperature drop across the evaporator and condenser is
due to various thermal resistances. A comparison of heat transfer
coefficient at the external surface of evaporator and condenser
has been presented in Table 2 at a 25
tilt angle. It shows that the
outside condenser heat transfer coefficient under natural convec-
tion is very low (9.7–12.1 W/m
2
-K) as compared to the outside
evaporator heat transfer coefficient of the heat pipe under forced
Figure 9 Effect of heating fluid temperature on the condenser heat transfer
coefficient of the heat pipe.
heat transfer engineering vol. 28 no. 11 2007
V. KUMAR ET AL. 961
Table 2 A comparison of heat transfer coefficients of the heat pipe at
different heating fluid temperatures at 25
tilt angle in bottom heating mode
(based on the external surface area)
Evaporator heat Condenser side
Heating fluid transfer coefficient, heat transfer
Number temperature,
C W/m
2
-K coefficient, W/m
2
-K
1. 40.9 593 9.7
2. 49.5 574 10.2
3. 60.0 624 12.1
4. 70.3 672 11.8
convection, which varies in the range of 574 to 672 W/m
2
-K.
The similar trend has been observed at other tilt angles as well.
The effect of tilt angle on overall heat transfer coefficient is
shown in Figure 10. For tilt angles varying from 15
to 25
,
the overall heat transfer coefficient increases as the heating fluid
temperature increases (from 40
Cto60
C); however, this trend
has not been observed at 70
C, which is due to the fact that the
heat transport rate increases marginally after 60
C. The maxi-
mum overall heat transfer coefficient is found to be 11.85 W/(m
2
-
K) at 60
C heating fluid temperature and 25
tilt angle. Although
the internal heat transfer coefficient of the heat pipe at a 90
tilt
angle is the highest, the outside evaporator and condenser heat
transfer coefficients are lower as compared to the same at 25
tilt angle.
Temperature Distribution of Heat Pipe
Figure 11 shows the external temperature distribution of the
heat pipe along its axial length at 70
C heating fluid tempera-
ture. The temperature profile in the evaporator section decreases
smoothly and linearly. The temperature drop has been found to
be small in the evaporator section along its axial length. The tem-
perature drop between the heating fluid and evaporator external
surface is small, which is due to a higher outside heat transfer
coefficient at the evaporator and high heat carrying capacity of
heating fluid (i.e., water), whereas in the condenser section, the
temperature drop is high along the external surface of the heat
pipe due to low outside heat transfer coefficient as well as low
heat carrying capacity of cooling fluid (i.e., ambient air). The
Figure 10 Effect of heating fluid temperature on the overall heat transfer
coefficient of the heat pipe.
Figure 11 External surface temperature of the heat pipe at 70
C heating fluid
temperature.
similar heat transfer characteristics have been shown by the heat
pipe at other heating fluid temperatures, varying from 40
Cto
60
C.
The temperature drop across the external end of evaporator
and condenser at different heating fluid temperatures and tilt
angles is shown in Figure 12. The temperature drop between
evaporator and condenser end at constant heating fluid temper-
ature decreases as the tilt angle increases from 15
to 90
.At
constant tilt angle, it increases as the heating fluid temperature
increases from 40
Cto70
C, which indicates that more heat is
transported at the higher heating fluid temperature. The maxi-
mum temperature drop across the evaporator and condenser is
found to be 15.1 K at the 15
tilt angle and 70
C heating fluid
temperature, but heat transport is not the maximum at this tilt an-
gle. This indicates that the heat transport of a heat pipe depends
on tilt angle as well as heating fluid temperature.
VALIDATION OF THE ANALYTICAL MODEL
To test the validity of the model, some typical experimental
heat transfer coefficients obtained at a 25
tilt angle have been
compared with the results predicted by the analytical model.
Figure 12 Effect of heating fluid temperature on the temperature drop across
evaporator and condenser end of the heat pipe.
heat transfer engineering vol. 28 no. 11 2007
962 V. KUMAR ET AL.
Figure 13 Evaporator heat transfer coefficient computed by the analytical
model and obtained from experiments.
Outside Evaporator Heat Transfer Coefficient
A comparison of the outside evaporator heat transfer coeffi-
cient and surface temperature, as determined by the developed
analytical model and the experimental values, are shown in Fig-
ures 13 and 14, respectively. The evaporator heat transfer co-
efficient and surface temperature predicted by the model have
close agreement with experimental values. The variation is in the
range of 4–12% in the case of evaporator heat transfer coefficient
and 1.7–2.9 % in the case of evaporator surface temperature.
Internal Heat Transfer Coefficient
The internal heat transfer coefficient and outside condenser
surface temperature predicted by the analytical model [1] and
the experimentally determined values are shown in Figures 15
and 16, respectively. It has been observed that the predicted
heat transfer coefficients at different heating fluid temperatures
are 2.5 to 3.6 times more as compared to the experimental val-
ues; therefore, the predicted condenser temperature is on the
higher side (6.6–9.6%) as compared to the experimental value.
Figure 14 Evaporator surface temperature predicted by the analytical model
and measured experimentally.
Figure 15 Internal heat transfer coefficient computed by the analytical model
and obtained from experiments.
The analytical prediction reveals that the thermal resistances of
the wick structure at the evaporator and condenser end are very
high, which governs the internal heat transfer coefficient of the
heat pipe to a greater extent. The lower experimental value of
internal heat transfer coefficient may be due to higher thermal
resistances of wick structure of the heat pipe and imperfect con-
tact of wick to the heat pipe container wall. From the present
investigation, it has been found that the model overpredicts the
internal heat transfer coefficient and condenser surface temper-
ature. Terdtoon et al. [22] found that the condenser temperature
of a plastic heat pipe, predicted by the mathematical model of
Shiraishi et al. [23], is 13% higher than their experimental value.
The condenser temperature predicted by the analytical model of
Krishnamoorthy and Pillai [5] has been found to be 5% more
than their experimental value.
Outside Condenser Heat Transfer Coefficient
Even though the Rayleigh number of cooling fluid is in lam-
inar flow regime, the condenser heat transfer coefficient, pre-
dicted by Churchill and Chu (for all ranges of Rayleigh number)
[12] is closer (1–12%) to the experimental value as compared to
Figure 16 A comparison of the condenser temperature computed by the an-
alytical model and measured experimentally.
heat transfer engineering vol. 28 no. 11 2007
V. KUMAR ET AL. 963
Figure 17 Outside condenser heat transfer coefficient computed by the ana-
lytical model and obtained from experiments.
Churchill and Chu’s correlation for laminar range, which varied
in the range of 5–18%. A comparison of condenser heat transfer
coefficient predicted by the developed analytical model and the
experimental values is shown in Figure 17. The predicted heat
transfer coefficient is higher as compared to the experimental
value, which is due to the fact that the model predicts a higher
value of internal heat transfer coefficient and condenser temper-
ature.
Overall Heat Transfer Coefficient
The overall heat transfer coefficient has been computed by
using the correlation proposed by Dobson and Kr¨oger [11], Chi
[1], and Churchill and Chu (for all ranges of Rayleigh number)
[12] in the analytical model. A comparison of the overall heat
transfer coefficient predicted by the analytical model and exper-
imentally determined values is shown in Figure 18. The overall
heat transfer coefficient predicted by the analytical model is in
good agreement with experimental values, although there is a
deviation in the analytically computed value of an internal heat
transfer coefficient. The value of the internal heat transfer coef-
ficient is very high, and it contributes practically nothing to the
Figure 18 Overall heat transfer coefficient computed by the analytical model
and obtained from experiments.
overall heat transfer coefficient, which is mostly governed by
condenser and to a much less degree by evaporator heat transfer
coefficient. Therefore, the model developed could reasonably
predict the overall heat transfer coefficient, as the variation is
within 9%.
The analysis has helped to validate the model, which would
be useful for the designer to evaluate the thermal performance
of a heat pipe under various operating conditions. The model
can reduce the design cycle of equipment by predicting differ-
ent thermal resistances associated with heat pipe under various
operating conditions.
The analytical model prediction can be improved by incorpo-
rating evaporation and condensation thermal resistances, which
is a suggested work for future study.
CONCLUSIONS
An analytical model, based on thermal resistance network
method, has been developed to compute the overall heat trans-
fer coefficient of a heat pipe in which the evaporator is exposed
to forced convection and the condenser to natural convection. A
test rig has been fabricated to evaluate its thermal performance.
Experimental studies have been conducted to characterize the
thermal behavior of the heat pipe, and some typical experimen-
tal results have been used to validate the analytical model de-
veloped. The conclusions drawn from present investigations are
summarized as follows.
The annular finned heat pipe gives better heat transport rate
under inclined condition as compared to vertical condition. The
heat transport rate of the heat pipe increases as the tilt angle in-
creases from 15
to 25
at a constant heating fluid temperature,
and it decreases beyond 25
tilt angle. At a constant tilt angle,
the temperature drop across the evaporator and condenser sec-
tions of the heat pipe increases, as the heating fluid temperature
increases from 40
Cto70
C at the evaporator inlet. The maxi-
mum heat transport rate of the heat pipe has been obtained at a
tilt angle of 25
and 70
C heating fluid temperature.
The heat transfer coefficient on the external surface of the
evaporator predicted by the analytical model is close to the ex-
perimental value. The internal heat transfer coefficient of the
heat pipe determined by the model is much higher than the
experimental value due to which a higher value of condenser
temperature is predicted. The outside condenser heat transfer
coefficient predicted by the model is reasonably matching with
experimental value.
The overall heat transfer coefficient computed by the ana-
lytical model is in close agreement with the experimental val-
ues because of closer prediction of the evaporator and con-
denser heat transfer coefficient at its external surface, whereas
the value of the internal heat transfer coefficient is very high
and does not contribute significantly to the overall heat transfer
coefficient.
The model can be used as a design tool to evaluate the thermal
performance of heat pipe under various operating conditions.
heat transfer engineering vol. 28 no. 11 2007
964 V. KUMAR ET AL.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The authors gratefully acknowledge the support provided by
management of Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technol-
ogy, Patiala and Thapar Centre for Industrial Research and De-
velopment, Patiala, India, for providing the necessary facilities
to carry out this research work. The authors wish to thank the
management of C-DAC, Pune, India for providing the comput-
ing facility as well as the encouragement for writing this paper.
NOMENCLATURE
A cross-section area, m
2
A
c
external surface area of condenser, m
2
A
e
external surface area of evaporator, m
2
A
f
fin surface area, m
2
A
o
external condenser surface area without fin, m
2
A
sw
surface area of wooden box, m
2
A
v
vapor core area, m
2
c
p
specific heat, J/(kg-K)
D inner diameter of cylindrical jacket, m
d
f,o
fin outside diameter, m
D
h
hydraulic diameter, m
d
o
outside heat pipe diameter, m
F shape factor, 0.28
F
v
frictional coefficient for vapor, Pa/(W-m)
f
v
R
ev
drag coefficient, 16
g acceleration due to gravity, m
2
/s
Gr Grashof number
h heat transfer coefficient, W/(m
2
-K)
h
h
external heat transfer coefficient on evaporator,
W/(m
2
-K)
h
w
heat transfer coefficient of wooden box, W/(m
2
-K)
i point number of the series
J mechanical heat equivalent, J/cal
k thermal conductivity, W/(m-K)
k
e,c
effective thermal conductivity of liquid saturated wick
at condenser, W/(m-K)
k
e,e
effective thermal conductivity of liquid saturated wick
at evaporator, W/(m-K)
l characteristic length, m
L fin length, m
L
a
adiabatic length of heat pipe, m
L
c
condenser length of heat pipe, m
L
e
evaporator length, m
L
t
total length of heat pipe, m
M mass of working fluid, kg
˙m mass flow rate, kg/s
N total number of measurements
Nu Nusselt number
P
f
fin perimeter, m
Pr Prandtl number
Q heat transfer rate, W
R
c
condenser side convective resistance, m
2
-K/W
R
h
evaporator side convective resistance, m
2
-K/W
R
HP
total thermal resistance of heat pipe, m
2
-K/W
r
h,v
vapor hydraulic radius, m
r
i
inside radius of heat pipe, m
r
o
outside radius of pipe, m
r
v
vapor core radius, m
R
p,c
thermal resistance of heat pipe wall at condenser,
m
2
-K/W
R
p,e
thermal resistance of heat pipe wall at evaporator,
m
2
-K/W
R
v
thermal resistance of vapor flow from evaporator to
condenser, m
2
-K/W
R
w,c
thermal resistance of wick at condenser, m
2
-K/W
R
w,e
thermal resistance of wick at evaporator, m
2
-K/W
Ra Rayleigh number, Ra = Gr
Pr
Re Reynolds number
S fin spacing, m
T temperature,
C
t
f
fin thickness, m
T
i
inlet temperature at evaporator jacket,
C
T
o
outlet temperature at evaporator jacket,
C
t
p
heat pipe wall thickness, m
T
p,c
condenser pipe wall temperature,
C
T
p,e
evaporator pipe wall temperature,
C
T
pw,c
temperature at the interface of condenser pipe wall and
saturated wick,
C
T
pw,e
temperature at the interface of evaporator pipe wall and
saturated wick,
C
T
sw
surface temperature of wooden box,
C
T
v,c
vapor temperature at condenser,
C
T
v,e
vapor temperature at evaporator,
C
t
w
wick thickness, m
T
ambient temperature,
C
U overall heat transfer coefficient, W/(m
2
-K)
U
HP,p
overall heat transfer coefficient of heat pipe based on
outer diameter, W/(m
2
-K)
V
f
volumetric flow rate of heating fluid, m
3
/s
v velocity, m/s
¯
X arithmetic mean of the measurement
x
i
value of the measurement at i
th
point
Greek Symbols
ρ fluid density [kg/m
3
]
σ Stefan Boltzmann constant, W/(m
2
-K
4
),
5.669E-8 W/(m
2
-K
4
)
ε emissivity, 0.77
ε
o
porosity of wick material, dimensionless, 0.65
ν kinematic viscosity, m
2
/s
β volumetric expansion coefficient, 1/K
η fin effectiveness
η
f
overall fin surface efficiency
λ latent heat of vaporization, J/kg
ψ inclination angle from horizontal
heat transfer engineering vol. 28 no. 11 2007
V. KUMAR ET AL. 965
Subscripts
C convection
c condenser
ffin
h hot
in input
l liquid
out output
p pipe
R radiation
T total
v vapor
w wick
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Vikas Kumar is a team leader of the Compu-
tational Fluid Dynamics group at the Centre for
Development of Advanced Computing, Pune, In-
dia. He obtained his Ph.D. in heat transfer from
Thapar Institute of Engineering & Technology,
Patiala, India. Currently, he is working in the area
of heat transfer and fluid flow.
D. Gangacharyulu is an associate professor in
the Chemical Engineering Department at Thapar
Institute of Engineering & Technology, Patiala,
India. He obtained his Ph.D. in the area of heat
exchanger from Thapar Institute of Engineering
& Technology, Patiala, India. His research inter-
ests are heat transfer, heat exchangers, process
simulation, and computational fluid dynamics.
Ram Gopal Tathgir is a professor in the Mechan-
ical Engineering Department at Thapar Institute
of Engineering & Technology, Patiala, India. He
obtained his Ph.D. in the area of energy studies
from Punjabi University, Patiala, India. His re-
search interests include heat transfer, heat pipe,
and energy studies.
heat transfer engineering vol. 28 no. 11 2007
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... Heat transfer Coefficient (h co ) on the shell side of condenser can be computed from the following correlations, Vikas et al. [22] h co ¼ 4:55 Re 0:733 Pr 0:362 ð22Þ ...
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In the characterization of high-temperature heat pipes, the measurement of heat transfer is a key technical issue that needs attention. In the present experimental research on high-temperature heat pipe using potassium as the working fluid, it was noted that the gas-gap-based calorimeters have some problems, such as difficulty in experiment, low test performance, and irreversible damage to the measured high-temperature heat pipe. In this study, a high-temperature calorimeter based on evaporation weighing method was designed and built to solve the aforesaid issues. Further, the heat transfer performance of potassium heat pipe under different heating power, inclination angles and cooling methods were tested. In the experiment, a 1000 mm long potassium heat pipe was heated at a heating power of 0-3000 W, the inclination angle was changed, to test the heat transfer performance of the heat pipe. The results showed that the high-temperature calorimeter method based on evaporation weighing would provide simple and convenient way for heat pipe evaluation without destroying the structure or system of the heat pipe.
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The Battery Thermal Management system (BTMS) is essential for lithium-ion batteries. At high application load, excessive heat generation reduces the battery performance drastically and is also dangerous if the temperature of the battery is not maintained under limits. The heat pipe is a heat exchanger device with very high thermal conductivity. The present study was an attempt to find the effectiveness of the heat pipe attached to the battery under air cooling to reduce the temperature of the battery. The heat pipe can be flattened and bent hence it is very useful to extract heat from one place to another at larger distance. In this paper, various arrangements of heat pipes with lithium-Titanate prismatic battery were considered with different wick porosity (0.45 - 0.7) as well as air velocity (3 m/s to 8 m/s) and have discussed its effect on temperature distribution of the battery. The present Study about heat pipe assisted air cooling showed that out of six different configurations, four heat pipes with wick porosity 0.7, attached at the middle of two large surfaces of the LTO battery can reduce the maximum temperature below 40°C and differential temperature below 5°C of a single prismatic battery with air flow at 3 m/s when it was getting discharged at 8C rating for 446 seconds.
Article
Since the internal heat transfer is a complicated process, the heat pipe heat exchanger of the engine has not been fully understood yet, which is originated from its extreme complexity. In theoretical studies, the involvement of two-phase flow and phase change processes usually simplifies the processing very much, and the model built differs too much from the actual one, resulting in reduced simulation accuracy. In this study, the prediction model of heat transfer and heat resistance of the heat pipe intercooler is established based on artificial neural networks (ANNs). Then the performance of the heat pipe intercooler from heat transfer and heat resistance aspects is investigated. The average relative error between the heat transfer prediction model and the test value is 3.6%, and the average relative error between the resistance prediction model and the test value is 12.68%, which shows that the prediction model can predict the thermal performance of heat pipe intercooler more accurately. Finally, the proposed model is applied to optimize the structural parameters of the heat pipe intercooler, and the optimal parameters are obtained accordingly. These optimal design parameters can provide the basis for further investigation and development of the heat pipe intercooler in diverse applications.
Article
A simple expression is developed for the space-mean Nu (or Sh) for all Ra and Pr (or Sc) in terms of the model of Churchill and Usagi. The development utilizes experimental values for Ra approaching zero and infinity, and the theoretical solutions obtained from laminar boundary-layer theory. The expression is applicable to uniform heating as well as to uniform wall temperature and for mass transfer and simultaneous heat and mass transfer. The correlation provides a basis for estimating transfer rates for non-Newtonian fluids and for inclined plates. Even simpler expressions are developed for restricted ranges of conditions. The general and restricted expressions are compared with representative experimental data. The structure of the correlating equation shows why the common power-law-type equations cannot be successful over an extended range of Ra and Pr.
Article
An experimental investigation of gravity-assisted copper water heat pipes has shown that for a given heat pipe operating temperature, the fluid inventory and the angle of orientation have an important bearing on the heat pipe performance. The heat transfer characteristics are also strongly dependent on the fluid charge. In case of overfill, a large enough liquid pool may form at the evaporator end. Nucleate boiling stimulated by the presence of a wick is observed in the pool at low wall superheats, which considerably augments the evaporator heat transfer coefficient. However, nucleate boiling also tends to set a limitation on the maximum heat pipe performance. Further investigation of the nucleation boiling lambda phenomenon is strongly urged.
Article
Two-phase closed thermosiphons are highly efficient heat-transfer elements with applications in terrestrial heat-transport and heat-recovery systems. In this paper, a corrugated copper tube was used as the container of the thermosiphons and distilled water was used as the working fluid. The influences of the liquid charge ratio and inclination angle on the heat-transfer performance were studied. It was found that the optimum liquid charge ratio to evaporator volume is 40 percent and the maximum performance is obtained at an inclination angle of 30 degrees. A useful formula to calculate the heat-transfer coefficient in the evaporator has been derived.
Article
A simple empirical expression for the mean value of Nu over the cylinder for all Ra and all Pr is developed in terms of the model of Churchill and Usagi. This expression is applicable for uniform heating as well as for uniform wall temperature and for mass transfer and simultaneous heat and mass transfer. Even simpler expressions are obtained for restricted conditions. These expressions improve upon prior graphical and empirical correlations in both accuracy and convenience.RésuméUne expression empirique simple de la valeur moyenne de Nu autour d'un cylindre valable pour tout Ra et tout Pr est obtenue à partir du modèle de Churchill et Usagi. Cette expression est applicable aussi bien dans le cas d'un chauffage à flux constant que dans celui d'un chauffage à température de paroi constante ainsi que pour le transfert de masse et le transfert simultané de chaleur et de masse. Des expressions encore plus simples sont obtenues dans des conditions plus restrictives. Ces expressions apportent des améliorations aux corrélations graphiques et empiriques antérieures à la fois en précision et en commodité.ZusammenfassungEs wurde ein einfacher empirischer Ausdruck für den Mittelwert von Nu über den Zylinder für alle Ra und alle Pr mit Termen des Modells von Churchill und Usagi entwickelt. Dieser Ausdruck kann sowohl verwendet werden für konstante Wärmezufuhr als auch für konstante Wandtemperatur und für Stoffübergang und gleichzeitigen Wärme- und Stoffübergang. Man erhält noch einfachere Ausdrücke für einschränkende Bedingungen. Diese Ausdrücke verbessern frühere graphische und empirische Korrelationen sowohl hinsichtlich der Genauigkeit als auch der Praktikabilität.РефератC пoмoщью мoдeли Чepчилля и Узaги пoлyчeнo пpocтoe эмпиpичecкoe выpaжeниe для cpeднeгo пo цилиндpy знaчeния чиcлa пpи вceч знaчeнияч Ra и Pr. Дaннoe выpaжeниe пpимeнимo к cлyчaю oднopoднoгo нaгpeвa, a тaкжe к cлyчaям oднopoднoй тeмпepaтypы cтeнки и мaccooбмeнa, и oднoвpeмeннoгo тeплo- и мaccooбмeнa. Для oгpaничeнныч ycлoвий пoлyчeны бoлee пpocтыe выpaжeния. Эти выpaжeния cдeлaли имeющиecя гpaфичecкиe и эмпиpичecкиe cooтнoшeния бoлee тoчными и yдoбными.
Article
Experimental and analytical study of water heat pipes for 200 to 350 deg F temperature range
Evaporator Heat Transfer Coefficient and Maximum Heat Transfer Rate of an Inclined Two Phase Closed-Thermosyphon
  • R T Dobson
  • D G Kröger
Dobson, R. T., and Kröger, D. G., Evaporator Heat Transfer Coefficient and Maximum Heat Transfer Rate of an Inclined Two Phase Closed-Thermosyphon, 11th Int. Heat Pipe Conference, Tokyo, Japan, vol. 2, pp. 34-39, 1999.