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AHT_Principles of Heat Transfer

AHT_Principles of Heat Transfer

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Energy Efciency Factsheet
arch 2008 – Page 
Principles o Heat Transer 
Principles o Heat Transer 
Supplement to Heat Transfer Product Reviews 
Many products are available that claim to saveenergy by controlling
heat transer,including reective paint additives, radiantbarriers, reective roo coatings and low-emis-sivity (low-e) coatings on windows. In an idealworld, the potential energy savings due tocontrolling radiation losses and gains mightbe large. In reality, there are many actors thatimpact how eective these products are.
Radiation Versus Other HeatTranser Methods
First o all, heat is the energy transerred romone body or system to another as a result o a dierence in temperature. Heat always mi-grates rom the hotter object to the coolerobject, never the other way around. Heat istranserred by three methods: conduction,convection, and radiation.
requires the physical contact o two objects. In the case o a wall, heat is con-ducted through the layers within the wall romthe warmer side to the cooler side.
 is heat transer due to uid or airow. A com-mon example is when warm air rises (or coolair alls) on a wall’s inside surace, inducing airmovement.Heat is transerred by
when suracesexchange electromagnetic waves, such as light,inrared radiation, UV radiation or microwaves.Radiation does not require any uid mediumor contact, but does require an air gap or othertransparent medium between the suraces ex-changing radiation. Radiation exchange occursbetween two suraces when one is warmer thanthe other and they are in “view” o each other;i.e., there is nothing between the two suraces.
Low-emissivity =High Refectivity =Reduced Heat Transer 
Radiation is a signifcant component o heattranser in buildings – in both heating andcooling even at typical temperatures and evenin the absence o solar radiation – but it is espe-cially important or sun-exposed suraces andwhere there are large temperature dierences(e.g., radiant heating, rerigeration, industrialsettings with warm suraces, ice rinks, etc.)Reective (low-emissivity) products will gener-ally be most eective in these applications. Incertain applications, however, a high-emissiv-ity (non-reective) surace will perorm better.Thereore, in evaluating a reective productwe should have some understanding o theseproperties.Reectivity and emissivity are properties o asurace that aect radiation heat transer andhow a reective product will perorm. Theraction o radiation arriving at a surace that isreected by it is called its
. Anotherproperty o the surace is its
, whichessentially is the surace’s tendency to emitradiation to other bodies. Suraces with highemissivity are also very absorptive, that is, they
March 2008Version 1.1
Energy Efciency Factsheet
March 2008 – Page 2
Principles o Heat Transer 
will readily absorb radiation striking them.These properties may vary depending on thewavelength o radiation alling on the surace.For example, the surace may reect much o the visible radiation (i.e., light) alling on it,but not much o the ultraviolet (UV) radiationor inrared radiation alling on it (see Figure 1).These properties are related to each other anddescribing how they are related can be helpulin understanding them (see section titled
 Moreon Heat Transer Properties o Suraces
onpage 6).
Reduce Heat Transer,or Enhance It?
Low emissivity will save energy whenever youwant to reduce heat transer, and vice versa.Places you generally want to reduce heattranser are:Between interior objects in a building(including people) and the interiorsuraces o exterior walls – on bothhot and cold days (i.e., wheneveryou are conditioning your space tocounter the weather outside).Between the exterior suraces o a building and its surroundings– on both hot and cold days (i.e.,whenever you are countering theweather outside).Low-e coatings on windows save energy inmost circumstances because they reduce heattranser with the surroundings. As anotherexample, a low-emissivity ceiling – such asunpainted aluminum or a reective aluminumpaint product – in an ice rink may have verygood energy savings. In this case, low emissiv-ity (over all wavelengths) would reduce radia-
Figure 1
Incident Radiation on an Opaque Surface
For any particular wavelength of radiation striking an opaque material, the sum of radiation that is reflected and that absorbed must equal the incident radiation. The radiation emitted and the radiation absorbed must equal each other at steady state.
Energy Efciency Factsheet
March 2008 – Page 
Principles o Heat Transer 
tion heat transer between the warmer ceilingand the cold surace o the ice.On the other hand, a surace used as a radiantheater – such as a radiant oor or a radiator – isan example o where high emissivity is benef-cial because we want to enhance heat transerrom the radiator. Another example o wherelow-emissivity coatings will increase energyuse is a building that requires cooling even ona cool day because, in this case, you generallywant to enhance heat transer (i.e., you are notcountering the weather outside). For example,low-e suraces on windows or walls are bad inrooms with high internal gains, such as com-puter server or telephone switching rooms,because you generally want to get rid o heatat all times. The only time low-e suraces willhelp you in a server room is when it gets socold outside that you have to start heating (i.e.,when you must counter the weather outside).
The Complication withSun-Exposed Suraces
Solar radiation is composed primarily o visibleand near-inrared radiation. Far-inrared radia-tion has longer wavelengths than near-inraredand is largely outside the solar band (see Fig-ure 2). (Both near- and ar-IR are elt as heat.)Thereore, whenever we are trying to under-stand how a material behaves when exposed tosolar radiation, its emissivity in each o thesethree bands is more important than its overallvalue summed over the entire spectrum. For a“cool roo,” we want to reect solar radiation– and whatever heat we do absorb we want toemit back to the surroundings. Thereore, wewant high reectivity in the visible and near-inrared bands, but low reectivity (i.e., highemissivity) in the ar-inrared bands.I you just look at a single number or emissiv-ity you will miss an important characteristic o 
VisibleNearInfraredFar Infrared
(~5 to ~100 micrometers)
Figure 2
The Solar Spectrum
Wavelength (micrometers)0.500.751.001.251.50
   P  o  w  e  r   D  e  n  s   i   t  y   (   W   /  m
   /  m   i  c  r  o  m  e   t  e  r  s   )
Solar radiation is composed primarily of visible and near-infrared radiation.Far-infrared radiation is largely outside the solar spectrum, that is solar radiation is very low at such long wavelengths.
Far-inrared radiation is largely outside the solar spectrum;that is, solar radiation is very low at such long wavelengths.

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