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Shape optimisation of air-cooled finned-tube heat exchangers

Nemati, H., MOGHIMI ARDEKANI, Mohammad, Sapin, P. and Markides, C.N. (2019) Shape optimisation of air-cooled finned-tube heat exchangers. International Journal of Thermal Sciences, 150. p. 106233. ISSN 12900729

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Abstract or description

The use of annular fins in air-cooled heat exchangers is a well-known solution, commonly used in air-conditioning and heat-recovery systems, for enhancing the air-side heat transfer. Although associated with additional material and manufacturing costs, custom-designed finned-tube heat exchangers can be cost-effective. In this article, the shape of the annular fins in a multi-row air heat exchanger is optimised in order to enhance performance without incurring a manufacturing cost penalty. The air-side heat transfer, pressure drop and entropy generation in a regular, four-row heat exchanger are predicted using a steady-state turbulent CFD model and validated against experimental data. The validated simulation tool is then used to perform model-based optimisation of the fin shapes. The originality of the proposed approach lies in optimising the shape of each fin row individually, resulting in a non-homogenous custom bundle of tubes. Evidence of this local-optimisation potential is first provided by a short preliminary study, followed by four distinct optimisation studies (with four distinct objective functions), aimed at addressing the major problems faced by designers. Response-surface methods – namely, NLPQL for single-objective and MOGA for multi-objective optimisations – are used to determine the optimum configuration for each optimisation strategy. It is shown that elliptical annular-shaped fins minimise the pressure drop and entropy generation, while circular-shaped fins at the entrance region (i.e., first row) can be employed to maximise heat transfer. The results also show that, for the scenario in which the total heat transfer rate is maximised and the pressure drop minimised, the pressure drop is reduced by up to 31%, the fin weight is reduced up to 23 %, with as little as a 14 % decrease in the total air-side heat transfer, relative to the case in which all the fins across the tube bundle are circular. Moreover, in all optimised cases, the entropy generation rate is also reduced, which shows a thermodynamic improvement in tube bundle performance.

Item Type: Article
Faculty: School of Creative Arts and Engineering > Engineering
Depositing User: Mohammad MOGHIMI ARDEKANI
Date Deposited: 13 Jan 2020 09:25
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2023 13:58

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