The present work deals with the design of compact wavy heat exchangers, where high values of heat transfer area per unit volume are looked for in order to reduce size and increase efficiency. A numerical investigation of a rectangular cross-sectional shape geometry, with duct aspect ratio of 7.3, and a corrugation angle of 145° is here proposed. The Reynolds numbers (based on the duct hydraulic diameter) range from 300 to 5000. The numerical analysis is performed by means of a finite volume commercial CFD code. Laminar and Unsteady Reynolds Averaged Navier-Stokes (U-RANS) approaches are applied to a three-dimensional fluid domain over a single module with periodic conditions, respectively for, lower (<1000) and higher (≥1000) Reynolds numbers. Mean velocity and temperature fields are obtained. The average values of Fanning friction factor and Nusselt number are compared with experimental data from literature for the same geometry operating at the same Reynolds number range. For the evaluation of heat transfer quantities obtained in the numerical study the analogy between Sherwood and Nusselt number is used. The numerical results agree with experimental data, by showing the capability of laminar and U-RANS two-equation approach, via RNG model, to capture the mean fluid flow including the Taylor-Gortler instability that appear at low Reynolds numbers. The qualitative comparison of heat results shows an agreement between experimental and numerical data, whereas the extension to quantitative comparison is limited by some deficiencies in experimental correlation for mass/heat transfer analogy.

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