As the longitudinal vortex is known to be effective in enhancing heat transfer, a three-dimensional unsteady numerical analysis has been made especially for the flow and thermal fields in a unit element of flat tube heat exchanger with vortex generator (VG) in so-called middle Reynolds number range. Both staggered and in-lined arrangements of the tubes with VG are considered and results obtained from the case with VG are compared with those without VG. The study was aimed at the influence of Reynolds number and some geometrical parameters on the heat transfer and the pressure drop. Moreover, as little research has been considered the interaction between transverse vortices and longitudinal vortices in the literatures, the effect is also investigated. It is found that the longitudinal vortex plays an important role in enhancing the local heat transfer by exchanging the fluid from the tube surface region to the fresh fluid of the main flow region and lasts over long distances. Moreover, the longitudinal vortices restrain unsteady transverse vortex shedding. As a result, heat transfer rate for the flat tube with VG case is larger compared to that without VG case. From the view point of pressure drop, increase in pressure drop for the case with VG is not so much larger due to the restraint of transverse vortex shedding. Finally, heat transfer performance becomes higher for the flat tube with VG case compared to that without VG case for the same pumping power.

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