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# DimensionlessNumbers

3.185
November 24, 2003
Note: youarenotresponsibleforknowingthedierentnamesofthemasstransferdimensionlessnumbers,
justcallthem,e.g.,masstransferPrandtlnumber,asmanypeopledo. Thosenamesaregivenherebecause
some people use them, and youll probably hear them at some point in your career.
Heat Transfer Mass Transfer
Biot Number M.T. Biot Number
Ratio of conductive to convective H.T. resistance Ratio of diusive to reactive or conv MT resistance
Determines uniformity of temperature in solid Determines uniformity of concentration in solid
Bi=hL/k
solid
Bi=kL/D
solid
or h
D
L/D
solid
Fourier Number
Ratio of current time to time to reach steady-state
Dimensionless time in temperature curves, used in explicit nite dierence stability criterion
Fo=t/L
2
Fo=Dt/L
2
Knudsen Number:
Ratio of gas molecule mean free path to process lengthscale
Indicates validity of line-of-sight (>1) or continuum (<0.01) gas models
kT
Kn=

2
2
PL
L
Reynolds Number:
Ratio of convective to viscous momentum transport
Determines transition to turbulence, dynamic pressure vs. viscous drag
Re=UL/=UL/
Prandtl Number M.T. Prandtl (Schmidt) Number
Ratio of momentum to thermal diusivity Ratio of momentum to species diusivity
Determines ratio of uid/HT BL thickness Determines ratio of uid/MT BL thickness
Pr=/=c
p
/k Pr=/D=/D
Nusselt Number M.T. Nusselt (Sherwood) Number
Ratio of lengthscale to thermal BL thickness Ratio of lengthscale to diusion BL thickness
Used to calculate heat transfer coecient h Used to calculate mass transfer coecient h
D
Nu=hL/k
fluid
Nu=h
D
L/D
fluid
Grashof Number
Ratio of natural convection buoyancy force to viscous force
Controls the ratio of lengthscale to natural convection boundary layer thickness
Gr=gTL
3
/
2
Gr=g
C
CL
3
/
2
Peclet Number
Ratio of convective to diusive heat/mass transport in a uid
Used to determine plug ow/perfect mixing (CSTR) continuous ow model validity
Pe=RePr=UL/ Pe=RePr=UL/D
Rayleigh Number
Ratio of natural convective to diusive heat/mass transport
Determines the transition to turbulence
Ra=GrPr=gTL
3
/ Ra=GrPr=g
C
CL
3
/D
1