1R48. Radiation Heat Transfer: A Statistical Approach. - JR Mahan (Dept of Mech Eng, VPI, Blacksburg VA). Wiley, New York. 2002. 482 pp. CD-Rom included. ISBN 0-471-21270-9. $120.00.

Reviewed by JD Felske (Dept of Mech and Aero Eng, SUNY, 330 Jarvis Hall, Buffalo NY 14260-4400).

The topics covered in this graduate text are mostly the same as in other texts on thermal radiation heat transfer. What differs are the emphases given to the various subjects and the style of the written presentation.

The text is divided into three approximately equal-size parts: Part I, Fundamentals of Thermal Radiation; Part II, Traditional Methods of Radiation Heat Transfer Analysis; and Part III, The Monte Carlo Ray-Trace Method. There are also four Appendices: A) Atomic dipole radiation; B) Use of the (CD-ROM) Mie scattering code; C) Use of the (CD-ROM) FELIX ray-trace program; and D) Random number generation and autoregression.

Part I treats the physics and thermodynamics of electromagnetic radiation plus the definitions used in thermal transport analysis. Two features distinguish the presentation in this text: the detailed discussion devoted to electromagnetic dipole radiation and the consideration of radiation pressure in the context of the seminal thermodynamic “thought experiments” of Bartoli and Boltzmann. On the other hand, it was surprising that the topic of optically thin films was not included, particularly since there is an entire chapter devoted to wave phenomena.

Particularly in Part I, but also throughout the entire text, two other distinctive aspects of this text are seen. One is the style of the prose with which it is written. The narrative is generally a bit softer than the usual stark presentation found in most advanced scientific monographs. Using this style, concepts are discussed in ways that engage the reader.

As a consequence, descriptions turn out to be lengthier, but also friendlier, and probably clearer to the student first encountering these topics. The other distinguishing feature is the end of chapter applications suggested for enhancing understanding. These are always divided into three categories: Team Projects, Discussion Points, and Problems. The applications usually involve analysis of radiative transport phenomena in actual engineering/scientific devices and systems. Students should find them interesting.

In Part II, enclosure theory is discussed in the traditional way. However, only the radiosity formulation is given. The practically useful heat flux-temperature form is not, nor is the absorption factor formulation, which is particularly useful in thermal design. The discussion of configuration factors also omits some useful approaches: the crossed-string method, the unit-sphere method, and the cylinder/sphere source rules.

This abbreviated Part II presentation is consistent with the author’s enthusiasm for the Monte Carlo Ray-Trace (MCRT) approach, which is the subject of Part III, two appendices and part of the CD). Unlike other introductory radiation textbooks which give, at most, a cursory presentation of MCRT, this text gives considerably more detail. A number of problems are formulated in detail in order to illustrate the concepts upon which this approach is based.

Overall, this reviewer found Radiation Heat Transfer: A Statistical Approach to be an interesting presentation of this topic—one which students will probably enjoy. As the author says in the Preface: it “is a book written for students rather than for professors.”