Heat transfer from arrays of circular and non-circular ducts subject to finite volume and constant pressure drop constraints is examined. It is shown that the optimal duct dimension is independent of the array structure and hence represents an optimal construction element. Solutions are presented for the optimal duct dimensions and maximum heat transfer per unit volume for the parallel plate channel, rectangular channel, elliptic duct, circular duct, polygonal ducts, and triangular ducts. Approximate analytical results show that the optimal shape is the isosceles right triangle and square duct due to their ability to provide the most efficient packing in a fixed volume. Whereas a more exact analysis reveals that the parallel plate channel array is in fact the superior system. An approximate relationship is developed which is very nearly a universal solution for any duct shape in terms of the Bejan number and duct aspect ratio. Finally, validation of the relationships is provided using exact results from the open literature.

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