The present study aims at explaining why heat transfer is enhanced in turbulent ribbed-pipe flow, based on our previous large eddy simulation (LES) database (Kang and Yang, 2016, “Characterization of Turbulent Heat Transfer in Ribbed Pipe Flow,” ASME J. Heat Transfer, 138(4), p. 041901) obtained for Re = 24,000, Pr = 0.71, pitch ratio (PR) = 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 18, and blockage ratio (BR) = 0.0625. Here, the bulk velocity and the pipe diameter were used as the velocity and length scales, respectively. The ribs were implemented in the cylindrical coordinate system by means of an immersed boundary method. In particular, we focus on the cases of PR ≥ 4 for which heat transfer turns out to be significantly enhanced. Instantaneous flow fields reveal that the vortices shed from the ribs are entrained into the main recirculating region behind the ribs, inducing velocity fluctuations in the vicinity of the pipe wall. In order to identify the turbulence structures responsible for heat transfer enhancement in turbulent ribbed-pipe flow, various correlations among the fluctuations of temperature and velocity components have been computed and analyzed. The cross-correlation coefficient and joint probability density distributions of velocity and temperature fluctuations, obtained for PR = 10, confirm that temperature fluctuation is highly correlated with velocity-component fluctuation, but which component depends upon the axial location of interest between two neighboring ribs. Furthermore, it was found via the octant analysis performed for the same PR that at the axial point of the maximum heat transfer rate, O3 (cold wallward interaction) and O5 (hot outward interaction) events most contribute to turbulent heat flux and most frequently occur.

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