Rapid development of computer capacity and advances in numerical solution methods for the governing equations of fluid flow and heat transfer have enabled CFD (computational fluid dynamics) methods to gradually become useful tools in research and development, engineering design and analysis of heat transfer equipment. However, turbulence modelling still presents a problem as accurate and reliable predictions of flow separation, reattachment, impingement and recirculating flow fields are requested. For heat exchangers both laminar and turbulent flow fields are of significance and in addition the geometries are complex, of small dimensions sometimes and turbulators or enhanced surfaces are applied. Still the demands on computers are strong as analysis of full scale equipment requires a huge amount of grid points and the computation times are long. The present paper concerns current CFD methods for thermal problems in analysis and design of heat exchangers. Application examples are presented and associated problems and limitations are discussed.

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