Authors: dbs, eop; Date: (latest) 2.05.13
File name: \phoenics\d_sapps\HeatEx\docs\descr_en.htm
the English-Language description file of
Simulation Scenario, HeatEx.
for general information about Simulation Scenarios.
- What HeatEx does
- Restriction to 2D
- The doubled-grid approach
- Dimensional and non-dimensional parameters
- The purpose of the calculation
- The use of HeatEx for learning about what influences
- How to run HeatEx
- Setting parameters by way of the menu
- Running the flow-simulating calculation
- Inspecting the results
- Performing multi-runs
- Behind the scenes
- Concluding remarks
1.1 What HeatEx does
The role of HeatEx is to simulate the performance of idealised
heat exchangers of parallel-flow, counter-flow, cross-flow and other
configurations, both for:
HeatEx therefore illustrates the ability of numerical methods
to provide more realistic simulations than analytical ones can
do; it is not however itself a design tool, because it is not
supplied with practically-shaped three-dimensional objects or
realistic Nusselt-Reynolds-Prandtl-number relationships.
- the circumstances for which analytical solutions exist, i.e.
those of uniform fluid properties and uniform overall heat-transfer
- those for which there exist no such solutions, because the said
quantities are not uniform, as for example in the shell-and-tube heat
exchanger illustrated below.
It has been used as the means of generating results shown in
section 1.4 of the latest Heat-Exchanger Design Handbook [Ref. 1]
1.2 Restriction to 2D
Since nothing of essential importance is lost thereby,
the underlying parameterised Q1 file is restricted to two-dimensional
representations of heat exchangers, as indicated below for the first three
(idealised) flow configurations to be considered:
about which it can be remarked that even a one-dimensional representation
would suffice for the first two cases.
1.3 The doubled-grid approach
For ease of display, the attributes of the two fluids will be presented side-by-
side, as shown below fornthe third case:
The separation of the two parts is exploited as a
computational device also,
with the advantage that it permits solution for only one
tlr (standing for temperature left or right);
but in the left-hand part tlr
represents the temperature of fluid 1 and in the right-hand part that of
fluid 2, as shown below for the number of transfer units
mass_times_specific_heat ratio (see next paragraph for
equal to unity.
The temperature has been non-dimensionalised by reference to the maximum
overall temperature difference.
1.4 Dimensional and non-dimensional parameters
The dimensional parameters which characterise the performance of the
single-phase idealised exchangers to be considered here are:
|symbol|| meaning|| units|
|Tin1||inlet temperature of fluid 1||deg C|
|Tin2||inlet temperature of fluid 2||deg C|
|C1||constant-pressure specific heat of fluid 1||J/(kg deg C)|
|C2||constant-pressure specific heat of fluid 2||J/(kg deg C)|
|Min1||mass inflow rate of fluid 1||kg/s|
|Min2||mass inflow rate of fluid 2||kg/s|
|A||heat-transfer area between fluids||m**2|
|U||overall heat-transfer coefficient||J/(m**2 s deg C)|
The thermal performance of a heat-exchanger can however be
equally-well represented in terms of a smaller set of dimensionless
|Tj~ (where j = 1 or 2)||non-dimensional temperature
|N~||number of transfer units||(U*A)/(M*C)min|
- (M*C)min is the smaller of M1*C1 and M2*C2, while
- Q is the heat transferred from fluid 2 to fluid 1, which may be expressed
in the following alternative ways:
|Q =||M1*C1*(Tout1-Tin1)||mass flow rate1 * enthalpy rise|
||mass flow rate2 * enthalpy fall|
1.5 The purpose of the calculations
The main task is to determine the effectiveness E~ for prescribed values of
M~ and N~; and a secondary one is to predict the distributions within the
exchanger of the dimensionless temperatures T~ of the two fluids.
Of course, analytical expressions exist for the simplest cases; but the
purpose here is to show how the effectivness and distributions can be
computed numerically for both simple and complex cases.
1.6 The use of HeatEx for learning about what
influences heat-exchanger performance
The present version of HeatEx is rather simple.
However, it does allow study of the effects of time-dependence, grid-size variation
and non-uniformities of specific heat and heat-transfer coefficient; and so it can be said
to enable newcomers to the subject,
and to computer simulation in general, easily to explore the effects of the most important parameters.
The PHOENICS-Direct menu system provides all that is needed (which is good), but
no more (which is even better); for an excess of options often leads to none being chosen.
2. How to run HeatEx
2.1 Setting parameters by way of PHOENICS-Direct
(a) Activating the HeatEx Simscene
In the folder \phoenics\d_sapps\HeatEx, there is a batch file named
start.bat. Activating this causes the following image to appear
which reveals, as well as the top page of the present document, the following
buttons and tabs along the top:
(b) Choosing the flow configuration
Clicking on the "Inspect or modify input data" tab elicits the following
The seven boxes on the left contain the names of the groups of data items which
are available for alteration via menus. On the right is the first of these, named
The first of the two boxes on the right contains a pull-down menu as shown below:
It allows selection of a flow configuration differing from the default
cross-flow, the full list being:
What is meant by the last four of these is explained by the following four
- for parallel flow,
- for counter-flow,
- for oblique flow,
- baffled flow with two baffles,
- baffled flow with four baffles
- baffled flow with two but with leaky baffles.
By the default the flow rates are taken as being independent of time. If however the 0.0 in the
second menu box is changed to 2.0, thus,
a transient heat-transfer process is simulated, lasting specifically for a time
during which fluid 1 fills the volume available to it twice; for that is the meaning
of the somewhat cryptic formula appearing on the screen.
Other parameters which may be set are accessed by clicking on one of the other boxes on the left of the screen.
Clicking on the 'geometry' box elicits
the following menu
the significance of which is self-explanatory.
(c) Material properties
Clicking on the 'material properties' box, in its turn, elicits
the following image:
About this, the following remarks are in order:
- The second-from-top box on the right is a two-item pull-down menu which, when
the non-default 'yes' choice is made, sets the properties to non-dimensional
unity values for simplicity. Otherwise those from the lower boxes are used.
- The lowest four boxes on the right, shown above, allow the influences of varying properties
to be investigated to some extent. Specifically, the enthalpy-versus-temperature
relation of fluid 2 is supposed to have the three-part form shown below:
- The menu allows the co-ordinates of points B and C to be varied, corresponding
to the differing specific heats of the liquid and vapour phases, and to their 'latent heat' of
vaporisation, to be reflected.
- Were C to be placed vertically above B, the enthalpy~temperature relation would correspond
to that of a pure substance. Mixtures on the other hand, for example water and alcohol, will have
enthalpy~temperature relations of which the transitions between the three straight lines will be rounded
rather than abrupt. But the HeatEx SimScene, even in its present simple form, enable the main effects
of real mixttres to be investigated.
(d) Initial conditions
Clicking on the left-hand-side 'initial conditions' box
reveals the following menu.
For steady-state simulations, 'initial conditions' are no more than initial guesses;
they do not influence the final solution.
They do however have significance for, and therefore influence on, the solution of time-dependent simulations,
as will be seen in section 2.2 below.
(e) Boundary conditions
Clicking on the 'boundary conditions' box, for example, elicits
the following image:
Here are more parameters which may be set by typing over existing entries in
the white boxes on the right-hand side.
The meanings of the items occupying the first four boxes are self-explanatory; and the fifth,
the number of transfer units is the means by which the overall heat-transfer coefficient,
U W/(m2degC), is specified. The two lower boxes require more explanation.
Analytical expressions for heat-exchanger effectiveness are based on the presumption
that the overall heat-transfer coefficient is uniform, i.e. that its value is the same at all points
in the heat exchanger. The presumption is often far from the truth because:
Therefore HeatEx has been supplied with means for demonstrating that its numerical methods are subject
to no such restriction. Specifically, if either or both of the numbers in the lower boxes are set to a non-zero
value, the overall heat-transfer coefficient will be computed from the formula indicated.
- thermophysical properties vary with temperature; and
- the relative velocity of fluid and wall, which strongly influences the convective component
of the coefficient, varies greatly with position.
No particular physical process is implied thereby; but users can gain insight into the effects by varying
Clicking on any of the three boxes on the left-hand side of the screen leads
to other menus in which other groups of parameters may be set.
Clicking on the 'output' box elicits
the following image, enabling miscellaneous output-related settings to be made.
Of the image elicited by clicking on the 'numerical' button,
as shown below
there is little to say. The numerical settings concern grid size and relaxation
factors, the nature of which is known to most users of numerical-simulation packages.
The third item, namely the number of time steps, has an influence only if the second menu box of
the 'general' menu has been filled with a value in excess of zero.
(i) Concluding remarks regarding settings which can be made via menus
About the settings which can be made via menus, the user may reasonably ask: "Why this? and not that?" The answer is: "Because the SimScene creator guessed, perhaps wrongly, what you would like to be able to adjust."
It should therefore be recognised that it is easy to make any simulation-influencing
setting menu-adjustable. This is not the place to explain how to do so; but some insight
will be provided in section 3 below.
2.2 Running the flow-simulating calculation
When the user has made his choices, clicking on the 'Run the simulation'
causes the PHOENICS Satellite and Earth modules to
be run in
sequence, in the directory \phoenics\d_sapps\HeatEx\working.
No user-intervention is needed.
2.3 Inspecting the results
Inspection of the results of the calculation is facilitated by the screen
which appears after the computation is completed, thus:
This is the 'inforout' file which has been placed by
in the working directory. The heat-exchanger effectiveness is among the items
Another file of interest is the 'result' file that can be loaded
'Open file' button .
The user may immediately explore its content, aided by the
If graphical display is preferred, it may be elicited by clicking on the
whereupon (in the present case) PHOTON is launched, which reacts automatically
to the macro, u, which has been automatically written in the working directory.
A typical image is the following:
wherein the left-hand contours represent the
distribution of heat flux to the cooler fluid entering from the left, while
the right-hand ones represent the equal flux leaving the
hotter fluid entering from below on the right. The two-leaky-baffle case is
the one in question.
A different picture will appear if the process is transient, as shown by the following image:
There fifteen pairs of contour diagrams are shown, corresponding to the fact that the total simulation time
will have been divided, by way of the 'numerical' menu, into fifteen equal intervals. The earliest-time interval is top-left; the latest is bottom-right.
The flow configuration in this case is crossflow; and the specific-heat-times-mass-flow-rate products are equal.
The total time considered is that which enables each fluid just to fill the volume available to it.
Inspection of the contour colours shows that both fluids were given the lowest temperature at the
start. Then the hotter fluid entering from below on the right-hand side, evidently imparts some of its
heat content to the cooler fluid entering on the left.
2.4 Performing multiruns
It is sometimes convenient to conduct a series of runs in which parameters
are systematically changed. There now exists a convenient provision for
doing so in PHOENICS-Direct itself. It is activated by clicking the button shown below.
However, a HeatEx-specific multi-run facility was created earlier. Since it
still exists, and has some interesting features of its own, it will now be described.
In sub-directory HeatEx\multirun, there then resided a (no-longer-existing)
batch file called multi-run.bat, the content of which can be seen
Its purpose was to explore the influences
of the number of transfer units and of the flow configuration on the effectiveness of
presumed-flow heat exchangers for fixed values of grid size
and mass_flow_times_specific_heat ratio.
Thirty runs were performed without user intervention.
The values of effectiveness (and a few other items)
were placed for later inspection in a file called
Such systematic parametric studies allow useful lessons to be learned. For example,
from consideration of the first six runs, all for ntumin=1.0, it can be concluded:
- For counter flow (flotyp=2):
EFFECTIVENESS = 4.941176E-01
whereas the theoretically exact value is 0.5.
No doubt the grid is not fine enough for better accuracy.
- For cross-flow (flotyp=3), the effectiveness is lower, namely:
EFFECTIVENESS = 4.711603E-01
as is of course to be expected.
- For oblique flow (flotyp=4),
EFFECTIVENESS = 4.786468E-01
i.e. between the two previous values, because the flow pattern has elements
of both counter- and cross-flow.
- When two baffles are introduced (flotyp=5),
EFFECTIVENESS = 4.919908E-01
i.e. it increases;
- but leakiness (flotyp=5), i.e. the ability of shell-side fluid to pass
throught the small gaps between the outsides of the tubes and the insides of the
holes in the baffles reduces the effectiveness again:
EFFECTIVENESS = 4.842865E-01
- Finally, introducing four (not-leaky) baffles (flotyp=6) raises the performance to:
EFFECTIVENESS = 4.926866E-01
i.e. very nearly to the level of the counter-flow value.
Qualitatively, none of these results are surprising; but possibly the small sizes
of the quantitative differences may not have been expected. However there are
other factors, for example the influence of number of baffles on shell-side velocity,
and so on heat-transfer coefficient, which HeatEx has not yet been asked to pronounce upon.
As already stated, modern users of HeatEx perform multiruns by means of the
top-of-screen multirun button, the most up-to-date account of how to use it being
in the document describing the
Multirun facility of the PHOENICS-Direct Package.
3. Behind the scenes
It is not necessary for users of SimScenes to know how they work; but
this section provides some information for neverthless inquisitive users, with
emphasis on three important files.
(a) The parameterised Q1 file
Underlying all SimScenes is a file, Q1.htm, written in the PHOENICS Input
Language known as PIL. The file which underlies the HeatEx SimScene can be viewed
Such files have four functions, namely:
- Declaration of parameters which do not form part of PIL.
- Ascribing values to these parameters and to some of the PIL variables.
- Provision of means by which the user can re-set these ascriptions
- Provision of consequential PIL statements which use the above-set parameters so as to
express the user's wishes in terms which PHOENICS can understand.
(b) The scene file
Corresponding to the Q1 file, and indeed derived
automatically from it, is a file called scene.xml. It can be viewed by clicking
here. It is the file which, when read by
PHOENICS-Direct, presents the on-screen menus discussed above.
At the end of the interactive session, PHOENICS-Direct writes a file called
frommenu.htm which contains the parameter settings which have resulted from that
session. A typical example can be seen by clicking
These settings are read by the PHOENICS input module, Satellite, because they
are, in effect, included in the pre-existing Q1 file by way of the top line of
what is seen here.
(c) Output files
The automatically-written RESULT and INFOROUT files have been mentioned
above; but many more will be found to have been created in the heatex\working
directory by the Satellite (input), Earth (solver) and PHOTON (display) modules
of PHOENICS. For example:
All these actions are consequences of instructions placed by the human creator
of the parameterised Q1 file, based upon specialist knowledge too extensive to
be elaborated in the present document.
4. Concluding remarks
The present version of HeatEx has been deliberately kept simple,
as has indeed the present document. It is now left to the reader to perform the
calculations which will reveal the influences on the heat-transfer effectiveness,
and on the temperature distributions, of the many combinations of input parameters
which the menus allow.
Once these possibilities have been exhaustedi, it may be remarked, extending their
scope is not difficult. All that is needed is some acquaintance with the PHOENCS
Input Language, into which section 3 has given some insight. Expertise in
Computational Fluid Dynamics is not required.
The authors of HeatEx will be glad to receive advice as to how it can be modified
so as better to meet the needs of persons who use it for teaching students about
1. G F Hewitt (Ed) 'Heat-Exchanger Design Handbook", Begell House. 2013
2. W M Kays and A L London, "Compact Heat Exchangers" (second edition),
McGraw Hill, 1964