Turbulent Flow in Longitudinally Finned Tubes

[+] Author and Article Information
D. P. Edwards, A. Hirsa, M. K. Jensen

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Aeronautical Engineering and Mechanics, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180-3590

J. Fluids Eng 118(3), 506-513 (Sep 01, 1996) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2817787 History: Received March 27, 1995; Revised August 23, 1995; Online December 04, 2007


An experimental investigation of fully developed, steady, turbulent flow in longitudinally finned tubes has been performed. A two-channel, four-beam, laser-Doppler velocimeter was used to measure velocity profiles and turbulent statistics of air flow seeded with titanium dioxide particles. Mean velocities in axial, radial, and circumferential directions were measured over the tube cross sections and pressure drop in the tubes was measured at six stations along the test section length in order to calculate the fully developed friction factor. Four experimental tube geometries were studied: one smooth tube; two 8-finned tubes (fin height-to-radius ratios of 0.333 and 0.167), and one 16-finned tube (fin height-to-radius ratio of 0.167); Detailed measurements were taken at air flow rates corresponding to Reynolds numbers of approximately 5000, 25,000, and 50,000. Friction factor data were compared to literature results and showed good agreement for both smooth and finned tubes. The wall shear stress distribution varied significantly with Reynolds number, particularly for Reynolds numbers of 25,000 and below. Maximum wall shear stress was found at the fin tip and minimum at the fin root. Four secondary flow cells were detected per fin (one in each interfin spacing and one in each core region for each fin); secondary flows were found to be small in comparison to the mean axial flow and relative magnitudes were unaffected by axial flow rate at Reynolds numbers above 25,000. The fluctuating velocities had a structure similar to that of the smooth tube in the core region while the turbulence in the interfin region was greatly reduced. The principal, primary shear stress distribution differed considerably from that of the smooth tube, particularly in the interfin region, and the orientation was found to be approximately in the same direction as the gradient of the mean axial velocity, supporting the use of an eddy viscosity formulation in turbulence modeling.

Copyright © 1996 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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