Very high heat transfer enhancement can be achieved in single-phase flows by using twisted-tape inserts in circular tubes. The primary convection mechanism is the generation of helical swirl or secondary fluid motion that is induced by the helical curvature of the tape insert. This promotes cross-stream mixing and sharper wall gradients, which are further aided by the increased flow velocity due to the tube partitioning and blockage along with an effectively longer helical flow length. These phenomena are scaled for both laminar and turbulent flow regimes, and an evaluation of the transition is also given to highlight the damping effects of tape-generated swirl. The nature of swirl and its dimensionless scaling, and concomitant development of predictive correlations for heat transfer coefficients and friction factors are discussed. Finally, a brief discussion of the quantification of heat transfer enhancement by means of twisted tapes is given so as to extend their application in heat exchanger design.

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