Finned circular tubes have been used exclusively in air-cooled heat exchangers built for the American petroleum and chemical industries. In Europe, however, other tube geometries, in particular, finned elliptical tubes, have been used with great success. In this paper, the theory of the finned elliptical tube and its application in air-cooled heat exchangers are discussed. Finned circular and elliptical tubes are compared; it is shown that the developed heat transfer surface alone is not a sufficient criterion for predicting the performance of an air-cooled fin-tube heat exchanger.

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