Forced convection heat transfer from a cylinder embedded in a packed bed of spherical particles was studied experimentally. With air as the working fluid, the effects of particle diameter and particle thermal conductivity were examined for a wide range of thermal conductivities (from 200 W/m K for aluminum to 0.23 W/m K for nylon) and three nominal particle sizes (3 mm, 6 mm, and 13 mm). In the presence of particles, the measured convective heat transfer coefficient was up to seven times higher than that for a bare tube in crossflow. It was found that higher heat transfer coefficients were obtained with smaller particles and higher thermal conductivity packing materials. The experimental data were compared against the predictions of a theory based on Darcy’s law and the boundary layer approximations. While the theoretical equation was moderately successful at predicting the data, improved correlating equations were developed by modifying the form of the theoretical equation to account better for particle diameter and conductivity variations.

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