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Week 3: Heat conduction

All problems due Tuesday, Sept 25, 2012. While these are just given in a list, some problems are easy and some are a little harder. You might want to look through the whole assignment before starting.


1. Take the MATLAB script that plots the solution to the 1D heat equation for the quenching problem. This script gives the solution to the dimensionless problem,


2 Θ ∂x 2



on the domain 0 < x < 1, with initial condition Θ(x, t = 0) = 1 and boundary conditions Θ(x = 0, t) = 0 and

Θ(x = 1, t) = 0. Modify this program so you can plot the solution to the physical problem in dimensional units.


Denote on your plot what the physical time units are, plotting at the dimensionless times of t = 0.001, 0.01, 0.1,

and 1 Plot the solution to the following dimensional problems;

1 mm of copper. Initially at 100 C and cooling to 20 C.

1 cm of copper. Initially at 100 C and cooling to 20 C.

1 m of copper. Initially at 100 C and cooling to 20 C.

1 cm of copper. Initially at 30 C and cooling to 20 C.

1 cm of polypropylene. Initially at 100 C and cooling to 20 C.

A sheet of pink foam insulation (state what you assumed about the properties) initially at 20 cooling to 0


2. Start with the MATLAB script from the previous problem. From the analytical solution, compute the dimen- sionless heat flux at the wall by evaluating the temperature gradient (by taking the derivative of the function, not a numerical derivative). Plot the dimensionless heat flux as a function of time. Compute the integral of the dimensionless temperature over the entire domain. From this quantity, plot the change in thermal energy as a function of time and confirm that the heat flowing out equals the change in energy. Now, plot the heat flux leaving the object as a function of time in dimensional units using the cases above in Problem 1. State the change in energy of each case in problem 1 from start to finish in Joules.

3. State what a Joule or kJ is in approximate terms of something personal that you can remember. Come up with something using potential energy, kinetic energy, and thermal energy. This exercise is just to try and provide a simple estimate that is easy for you to remember for what a unit of energy is. This can be useful for determining whether the energy changes in Problem 2 are a lot or a little.

4. Start with the MATLAB script that plots the solutions to the heat equation for the problem where the boundaries are cooled by convection. Here both ends of the domain are cooled by convection and the domain goes from 1 < x < 1. The program only shows half the problem from 0 < x < 1.

Compare the temperature field (by plotting on the same graph) from the solution to Problem 1 and the solution here with a Biot number of 10. Repeat with a Biot number of 100. You will need to take care that the domain size has changed from 0 < x < 1 in Problem 1 to 1 < x < 1 here.

Consider the case where the Biot number is 0.1. From the complete solution, compute the average tem- perature of the object (integrating over the domain). Adjust the script to plot the average temperature as a function of time. Carry out the lumped analysis as outlined in the book (assume the temperature of the

object is constant inside the object from the start), and plot the approximate solution on top of the exact one. Adjust the Biot number to find where the two solutions really start to significantly depart from each


5. Consider the following problem, the solution to the dimensionless problem,


2 Θ ∂x 2




with initial condition Θ(x, t = 0) = 0 and boundary conditions Θ(x = 0, t) = 0 and Θ(x = 1, t) = 1.

Consider the solution to the problem to be Θ = u + x. This substitution yields the problem,


2 u ∂x 2



with initial condition u(x, t = 0) = x and boundary conditions u(x = 0, t) = 0 and u(x = 1, t) = 0. Solve the problem for u using the separation of variables technique outlined in class. The result is very similar to Problem 1, only the constants are a little different. Modify the script from Problem 1 to plot your solution.

6. A wall of thickness L and conductivity k separates the indoors from the outdoors. Imagine a case where the initially, the indoor air, the wall, and the outdoor air are all at the same temperature, T out . The heat to the building is turned on such that the air inside is at T in . Heat is transferred at the wall on the inside and outside by convection, with coefficient h in and h out . Write the equation, boundary conditions, and initial condition for this problem. Make the formulation dimensionless and state the dimensionless problem mathematically. You don’t need to solve the problem, just set it up mathematically.

7. Consider the previous problem. At steady state, solve for the temperature field inside the wall. Express in both dimensionless and dimensional terms. The result should be in terms of known quantities, such as the inside and outside air temperatures, the inside and outside convection coefficients, and the length of the wall. Sketch the temperature dimensionless temperature field for a few cases. Consider the cases where the inside and outside convection coefficients are equal and large, where they are equal and small, where the inside is large and the outside is small, and where the inside is small and the outside is large. Think about these results and make sure that you could explain them qualitatively.

8. Consider a wall of thickness L. From 0 < x < L/2 the conductivity of the material is k and from L/2 < x < L the conductivity is 10k. Consider that initially the temperature is T c . At t > 0, T (x = 0, t) = T h and T (x = L, t) = T c . Sketch the temperature profile qualitatively as a function of time. Pay attention to the final steady state temperature field. Assuming the two regions have the same density and specific heat, ρ and C, estimate how long it will take for the temperature field to come to steady state?

9. Consider steady state heat conduction through a wall of thickness L. The left and right boundaries have a fixed temperature; T h (x = 0) and T c (x = L). Consider a material whose thermal conductivity is a function which increases linearly with temperature; i.e. k = k o + A(T T 0 ), where T 0 is a reference temperature, k 0 is the conductivity at the reference temperature, and A is an experimentally determined positive constant value of A = dk/dT for the material. Qualitatively sketch the steady state temperature field compared to the case where the material has constant conductivity. Solve for the steady state temperature field.

Initially the temperature

everywhere is T 0 . At t = 0 the temperature at the boundary is suddenly increased to T (x = 0, t) = T h . The

10. Consider heat flow into a semi-infinite domain.

The domain spans 0





solution to the dimensional problem is

T (x, t) T 0 T h T 0

= erf

4αt .


The term erf is known as the error function. MATLAB knows it. Wikipedia knows it. You can read about it. Plot the solution in dimensionless (just the equation above) and dimensional terms for the problem of soil in the earth responding to a sudden change in temperature at the surface. Look up reasonable properties for the thermal diffusivity of soil. While the more realistic problem for the soil would have periodic forcing, the step response is just easier for us to write down the solution.