Dendritic heat convection on a disc
In this paper we develop the optimal tree-shaped flow paths for cooling a disc-shaped body by convection. Heat is generated uniformly over the disc area. The coolant enters through the center of the disc, and exits through ports positioned equidistantly along the perimeter. The unknown is the flow architecture. The constraints are the disc size and the total volume occupied by the ducts. It is assumed that the ducts are narrow enough so that the flow is hydrodynamically and thermally fully developed. The ultimate goal is to determine flow architectures that reach simultaneously two objectives: (i) minimal global fluid flow resistance (or pumping power), and (ii) minimal global thermal resistance. When the architecture is optimized for (i), the result is a dendritic structure in which every geometric feature is uniquely determined. The corresponding thermal resistance decreases as the total mass flow rate and the pumping power increase. When the objective is (ii), the optimal architecture has radial ducts, not dendrites. The corresponding fluid-flow resistance increases as the flow rate increases and the global thermal resistance decreases. Put together, these geometric results show that methods (i) and (ii) lead to nearly the same combined performance (thermal and fluid). Examined more closely, the dendrites produced by method (i) perform progressively better as the length scales become smaller. Optimized increasing complexity is the route to high thermal and fluid-flow performance in the limit of decreasing scales. © 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Wechsatol, W; Lorente, S; Bejan, A
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