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Development of heat transfer coefficient and friction factor correlations for offset fins using CFD

Ranganayakulu Chennu (Aeronautical Development Agency, Bangalore, India)
Pallavi Paturu (National Institute of Technology, Warangal, India)

International Journal of Numerical Methods for Heat & Fluid Flow

ISSN: 0961-5539

Article publication date: 1 November 2011



In aerospace applications, due to the severe limitations on the weight and space envelope, it is mandatory to use high performance compact heat exchangers (CHEs) for enhancing the heat transfer rate. The most popularly used ones in CHEs are the plain fins, offset strip fins (OSFs), louvered fins and wavy fins. Amongst these fin types, wavy and offset fins assume a lot of importance due to their enhanced thermo‐hydraulic performance. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the influence of geometrical fin parameters, in addition to Reynolds number, on the thermo‐hydraulic performance of OSFs.


A computational fluid dynamics approach is used to conduct a number of numerical experiments for determination of thermo‐hydraulic performance of OSFs considering the various geometrical parameters, which are generally used in the aerospace industry. These investigations include the study of flow pattern for laminar, transition and turbulent regions. Studies are conducted with different fin geometries and comparisons are made with available data in open literature. Finally, the generalized correlations are developed for OSFs taking all geometrical parameters into account for the entire range of operations of the aerospace industry covering laminar, transition and turbulent regions. In addition, the effects of various geometrical parameters are presented as parametric studies.


Thermo‐hydraulic design of CHEs is strongly dependent upon the predicted/measured dimensionless performance (Colburn factor “j” and Fanning friction “f” vs Reynolds number Re) of heat transfer surfaces. Several types of OSFs used in the compact plate‐fin heat exchangers are analyzed numerically.

Research limitations/implications

The present numerical analysis is carried out for “air” media and hence these results may not be accurate for other fluids with large variations of Prandtl numbers.

Practical implications

In open literature, these fins are generally evaluated as a function of Reynolds number experimentally, which are expensive. However, their performance will also depend to some extent on geometrical parameters such as fin thickness, fin spacing, offset fin length and fin height.


This numerical estimation can reduce the number of tests/experiments to a minimum for similar applications.



Chennu, R. and Paturu, P. (2011), "Development of heat transfer coefficient and friction factor correlations for offset fins using CFD", International Journal of Numerical Methods for Heat & Fluid Flow, Vol. 21 No. 8, pp. 935-951.



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