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CME 341

Heat Transfer
Lecture 8_2
Heat Transfer from Extended Surfaces (Fins)
And Conduction Shape Factor

Dr. Hameed Muhamad

Chemical Engineering Department

College of Engineering

Abu Dhabi University

Heat Transfer from Extended Surfaces (Fins)

An extended surface (also know as a combined conduction-convection system or a fin)

is a solid within which heat transfer by conduction is assumed to be one dimensional, while
heat is also transferred by convection (and/or radiation) from the surface in a direction
transverse to that of conduction

Fins are used typically to enhance heat transfer between a solid and an adjoining fluid.
Newton’s law of cooling: The rate of heat transfer from
a surface to the surrounding medium

When Ts and T are fixed, two ways to

increase the rate of heat transfer are
• To increase the convection heat transfer
coefficient h. This may require the
installation of a pump or fan, or replacing
the existing one with a larger one, but this
approach may or may not be practical.
Besides, it may not be adequate.
• To increase the surface area As by attaching
to the surface extended surfaces called fins
made of highly conductive materials such
as aluminum. 3
Where do we find fines?

The thin plate fins of a car radiator

greatly increase the rate of heat
transfer to the air. 4
Typical finned-tube heat exchanger
Fin Equation

Volume element of a fin at location x having
a length of x, cross-sectional area of Ac,
and perimeter of p. Temperature
excess 6
The general solution of the differential equation

Boundary condition at fin base (x=0)


The second condition, specified at the fin tip (x=L), may correspond to
one of four different physical situations. The first condition, Case A,
considers convection heat transfer from the fin tip. Applying an energy
balance to a control surface about this tip (Figure), we obtain
At x=L we have
And -K 𝑑𝑥

Solving for C1 and C2, it may be shown, after some manipulation, that

Extended Surfaces (Fins)

Extended surfaces may exist in many situations but are commonly used as fins
to enhance heat transfer by increasing the surface area available for convection
(and/or radiation). They are particularly beneficial when h is small, as for a gas
and natural convection.

 Solutions for various fin geometries can be found in the literature (for
example in next Table).
Fin Performance
The main function of the fin is to increase the effective surface area of heat transfer. However, the fin’s
body represents a conductive resistance to heat transfer from the original surface. Consequently, there is
no assurance that heat transfer rate will increase due to the use of fins.

To evaluate this matter, the fin effectiveness is defined as:

The ratio of fin heat transfer rate to the heat transfer rate that would exist without the fin
And calculated as: qf
f 
hAc ,bb
Where the Ac,b is the fin cross sectional area at the base,
and b is the temperature at the base of the fin b =Tb-T

Fin effectiveness should be as large as possible and in any case shouldn’t be less than 2.
Fin Efficiency
This is another way to measure fin performance. It is defined as the ratio between the rate of
heat transfer through the fin and the maximum rate at which a fin could dissipate energy.
This is expressed as:
f 
hAf b

where Af is the surface area

of the fin.

Fig. Efficiency of straight fins (rectangular,

triangular, and parabolic profiles).
Table Efficiency of
common fin shapes
Table continued
Overall Surface Efficiency for Fin Arrays
For an array of fins, the overall surface
efficiency is defined by:

qt qt
o  
qmax hAtb
Where At is the total surface area
defined as:

At  NA f  Ab
And the total heat transfer is expressed by:

 NAf 
qt  N f hAf b  hAbb  hAt 1  (1   f )b 
From prime  Af 
From fins
The Conduction Shape Factor
So far, we have considered heat transfer in simple geometries such as large plane walls, long cylinders, and
This is because heat transfer in such geometries can be approximated as one-dimensional.
But many problems encountered in practice are two- or three-dimensional and involve rather complicated
geometries for which no simple solutions are available.
An important class of heat transfer problems for which simple solutions are obtained encompasses those
involving two surfaces maintained at constant temperatures T1 and T2.
The steady rate of heat transfer between these two surfaces is expressed as

S: conduction shape factor

k: the thermal conductivity of the medium between the surfaces
The conduction shape factor depends on the geometry of the system only.
Conduction shape factors are applicable only when heat transfer between the two surfaces is by
Relationship between the conduction shape factor and the thermal resistance
Notice that S has the dimension of length. Shape factors for a number of geometrical
configurations are given in Table 1.3. The solution of a problem involving one of these
configurations is thus reduced to the calculation of S by the appropriate formula listed
in the table.

The thermal resistance corresponding to the shape factor can be found by
comparing Equation (1.16) with Equation (1.27). The result is:

Q=T/Rth (1.16) and q=KST (1.27)

Rth=1/kS (1.28)

This is one of the thermal resistance formulas listed in Table 1.2. Since shape-
factor problems are inherently multi-dimensional, however, use of the thermal
resistance concept in such cases will, in general, yield only approximate solutions.
Example 1.8
An underground pipeline transporting hot oil has an outside diameter of 1 ft and its
centerline is 2 ft below the surface of the earth. If the pipe wall is at 200oF and the
earth’s surface is at –50 F, what is the rate of heat loss per foot of pipe? Assume
kearth = 0.5 Btu/h . ft . F.


From Table 1.3, the shape factor for a buried horizontal cylinder is:
Example 1.9
Suppose the pipeline of the previous example is covered with 1 in. of magnesia
insulation (k=0.07 W/m . K). What is the rate of heat loss per foot of pipe?

This problem can be solved by treating the earth and the

insulation as two resistances in series. Thus,
The resistance of the earth is obtained by means of the shape factor for a buried horizontal cylinder.
In this case, however, the diameter of the cylinder is the diameter of the exterior surface of the
insulation. Thus,

Converting the thermal conductivity of the insulation to English units gives:

Kins = 0.07 X 0.57782 = 0.0404 Btu/h . ft . F