The performance characteristics of a staggered short pin-fin array heat exchanger (Figure 3) were analyzed numerically and experimentally. The numerical simulation formed the primary thrust of the study and a three-dimensional finite element model based on the commercial FEA package ANSYS was used. The simulation was validated against historical empirical data in the literature, as well as against data obtained from a modular experimental rig that was designed to allow different configurations to be easily swapped and studied. Compared to the experimental data, the numerical model provided very accurate heat transfer predictions (Figure 2), but overestimated the pressure drop values for some configurations. The discrepancy was greatest for cases where the pin-fins made up a large fraction of the total heat exchanger array volume.

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