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ME139L-Experimental Heat Transfer
PreLab for Lab #5

Before beginning experiments you must have an idea of the expected cylinder temperature, whether it is
reasonable to assume that the cylinder temperature is uniform, the expected time to approach steady state, and the
effect of natural convection and radiation on the results. The calculations below help answer these questions.
The cylinders used in this experiment are 0.75" in outside diameter and 150 mm long. They are made of
aluminum with a 0.375" hole drilled in the center to hold a cylindrical cartridge heating element. The heating
element has a nominal resistance of 72 ohms. A speed-controlled fan blows air over the cylinder with a velocity
range of approximately 1 to 4 m/s. Assume thermal conductivity k = 237 W/m-K, density = 2702 kg/m3, heat
capacity c = 903 J/kg-K, and emissivity = 0.05 for aluminum.
1. Estimate the Reynolds number range for the experiment using the minimum and maximum velocities for the
fan and the cylinder diameter as the characteristic length. Assume the temperature of the free stream to be
27oC and the surface temperature to be 77oC. Calculate properties at the film temperature.
2. Using the Hilpert correlations from your textbook, estimate the expected range of Nusselt number and
convection heat transfer coefficient (h) for the cylinder using the minimum and maximum velocities.
3. If the maximum input voltage to the cartridge heater is 50 VAC (rms), estimate the expected surface
temperature of the cylinder at the minimum and maximum flow velocities.
4. An important consideration is uniformity of the surface temperature. To evaluate this, calculate the Biot
number (Bi) and determine whether the lumped capacitance criterion is satisfied. For the range of
convection heat transfer values estimated in question 2, would you consider the lumped capacitance model to
be valid? As an approximation, you can use the cylinder wall thickness as the characteristic length for
estimating the Biot number. Discuss why this approximation is valid for the hollow cylinder used in this lab.
5. Another important consideration is how long you should wait after turning on the heater before taking
temperature measurements. Using the range of convection (h) values calculated above for a velocity of 1 m/s,
along with material properties and dimensions of the cylinder, estimate the time it would take for the cylinder
temperature to arrive within 2% of the final temperature, i.e. for the cylinder temperature rise (above the
ambient temperature) to reach 98% of the final temperature rise. How long would it take to reach within 0.2%
of the final value? (In this lab, you probably will not want to wait for 0.2% of the final value!)
6. While working out the surface temperatures in question 3 above, it was implicitly assumed that all of the heat
generated by the heating element was transferred to the air by forced convection. In fact, natural (free)
convection and radiation also contribute to the total heat dissipation. Suppose the fan was turned off and the
heat generated was dissipated only by free convection. Estimate the value of the convection heat transfer
coefficient (h) for free convection alone. Do this for the highest and lowest values of the surface temperature
calculated in Part 3. Approximately how large (percentage-wise) is the natural convection heat transfer
coefficient compared to the values for forced convection at these two surface temperatures?
7. In the above calculations, radiation from the cylinder surface to the enclosure was neglected. At the highest
and lowest surface temperatures calculated above, estimate the magnitude of radiation losses in Watts. Also,
compute an effective radiation heat transfer coefficient (hrad) and compare its magnitude to the convection
heat transfer coefficient for both free and forced convection. Recall that:
q RAD = AS (TS4 T4 ) = hRAD AS (TS T )
h = (TS2 T2 )(TS T )
where RAD

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(Note that Tsurroundings have been taken as equal to Tambient in this expression.)