An experimental study of heat transfer to mercury flowing in line through an unbaffled rod bundle was carried out. The “rods” were special electrical heaters whose claddings had different thicknesses and thermal conductivities. The experiments were carried out under a thermal boundary condition approaching that of uniform heat flux in all directions at the inner wall of the rod cladding. It was found that displacement of a rod from its symmetrical position can result in a large reduction in its average heat transfer coefficient. This reduction increases exponentially with the amount of displacement. For a given direction and amount of displacement, the reduction is little affected by variations in cladding thickness and conductivity but is affected considerably by flow rate. Not only does the displaced rod suffer a reduction in its own average heat transfer coefficient, but so do those toward which it is displaced. At the same time, the average coefficients of the rods from which it is displaced remain about the same. Thus the overall average coefficient of the group of affected rods goes down when a single rod is displaced.

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