Coalbed methane (CBM) is a kind of mixed gas with the principal component of methane and nitrogen. Supercritical convective heat transfer of CH4/N2 cooled in horizontal circular tubes is one of the most important heat transfer processes during CBM liquefaction. In this paper, supercritical CH4/N2 cooling has been numerically investigated in a horizontal tube by using the low Reynolds number turbulence model proposed by Lam and Bremhorst. The study first focuses on the effect of nitrogen content on CBM heat transfer characteristics. The results indicate that supercritical convective heat transfer of CBM is mainly affected by the fact that the CBM properties change with nitrogen content. Then the study focuses on the buoyancy effect on heat transfer characteristics at different mass fluxes, heat fluxes and pressures. The results show that buoyancy effect increases with the decrease of mass flux or with the increase of heat flux, and the relationship Gr/Re2.7 predicts the buoyancy effect onset better than Gr/Re2. When the buoyancy effect is considerably strong, buoyancy effect on heat transfer in the top line of the horizontal circular tube is equivalent to buoyancy-opposed heat transfer, and buoyancy effect on heat transfer in the bottom line to buoyancy-aided heat transfer. The correlation of buoyancy-opposed heat transfer proposed by Bruch et al. predicts well for the supercritical heat transfer of methane. When the buoyancy effect is negligible, the calculated results agree well with the Gnielinski correlation.

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