Practical Applications of Delta Winglets in Compact Heat Exchangers with Louvered Fins

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Virginia Tech

Compact heat exchangers are widely used by the automotive industry in systems that cool engine components. Louvered fin heat exchangers are used over their continuous fin counterparts because of the significant advantages they provide in heat transfer efficiency, while only causing small increases in overall pressure losses. With the recent emphasis that has been placed on reducing fuel consumption, decreasing the size of the compact heat exchanger has become an important concern. With reduction in size comes not only weight savings, but also a decrease in frontal area in a vehicle that must be dedicated to the heat exchanger, allowing for more aerodynamic vehicle designs.

Air-side resistance on the tube wall and louvered fin surfaces comprises over 85% of total resistance to heat transfer in louvered fin heat exchangers. The tube wall surface is considered the primary surface for heat transfer, where the temperature between the working fluid and convecting air is at a maximum. Recent studies have shown that implementing delta winglets on louvered fins along the tube wall is an effective method of augmenting tube wall heat transfer. In this thesis, the effect of delta winglets is investigated in both two- and three-dimensional louvered fin arrays. For both geometries, winglets are simulated in a manufacturable configuration, where piercings in the louvered fins that would result from the winglet manufacturing process are modeled.

Using the two-dimensional geometry to model tube wall heat transfer was shown not to accurately predict heat transfer coefficients. In a two-dimensional geometry, winglets were found not to be an effective means for augmenting tube wall heat transfer and caused only 8% augmentation. Using the three-dimensional geometry, winglets with simulated piercings were observed to cause up to 24% tube wall heat transfer augmentation, with a corresponding increase in pressure losses of only 10%.

Tube Wall, Louvered Fin, Vortex Generator, Delta Winglet, Compact Heat Exchanger