Technologies for energy recovery and conversion are at the forefront of any mechanical engineering curricula. Heat exchangers are often found in various industries and, therefore, deserve a special dedication to the effort in under and post graduate education.
The Integrated Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Minho includes a semester (out of 10) dedicated to the thermal analysis of heat exchangers. Traditionally such subject would follow the route of application of the NTU charts and the efficiency method. Although this approach is still of great relevance both as a calculation methodology and as a method to develop the physical insight into the subject, the application of advanced computation tools has been introduced into the course with great acceptance by the students. In brief, the course provides an excellent opportunity to integrate various subjects.
This paper details the rationale for the application of CFD techniques in heat exchanger design and calculations. It frames this approach within the overall education in mechanical engineering, and integrates the methodology with traditional design methodologies. Various test cases are detailed (constant wall temperature heat exchanger, double pipe and shell and tube) and the results are compared with integral methods. The local heat transfer coefficients are discussed with regard to the empirical correlations.