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# Fouriers Law

and the
Heat Equation
Chapter Two
Fouriers Law
A rate equation that allows determination of the conduction heat flux
from knowledge of the temperature distribution in a medium
Fouriers Law
Its most general (vector) form for multidimensional conduction is:
q k T

'' = V
Implications:
Heat transfer is in the direction of decreasing temperature
(basis for minus sign).
Direction of heat transfer is perpendicular to lines of constant
temperature (isotherms).
Heat flux vector may be resolved into orthogonal components.
Fouriers Law serves to define the thermal conductivity of the
medium / k q T

| |
''
V
|
\ .
Heat Flux Components
(2.18)
T T T
q k i k j k k
r r z |

c c c
'' =
c c c
r
q
''
q
|
''
z
q
''
Cylindrical Coordinates:
( )
, , T r z |
sin
T T T
q k i k j k k
r r r u u |

c c c
''
=
c c c
(2.21)
r
q
'' q
u
''
q
|
''
Spherical Coordinates:
( )
, , T r | u
Cartesian Coordinates:
( )
, , T x y z
T T T
q k i k j k k
x y z

c c c
''
=
c c c
x
q
''
y
q
''
z
q
''
(2.3)
Heat Flux Components (cont.)
In angular coordinates , the temperature gradient is still
based on temperature change over a length scale and hence has
units of C/m and not C/deg.
( )
or , | | u
Heat rate for one-dimensional, radial conduction in a cylinder or sphere:
Cylinder
2
r r r r
q A q rLq t
'' ''
= =
or,
2
r r r r
q A q rq t
' ' '' ''
= =
Sphere
2
4
r r r r
q A q r q t
'' ''
= =
Heat Equation
The Heat Equation
A differential equation whose solution provides the temperature distribution in a
stationary medium.
Based on applying conservation of energy to a differential control volume
through which energy transfer is exclusively by conduction.
Cartesian Coordinates:
Net transfer of thermal energy into the
control volume (inflow-outflow)
p
T T T T
k k k q c
x x y y z z t

| | c c c c c c c | | | |
+ + + =
| | |
c c c c c c c
\ . \ .
\ .

(2.13)
Thermal energy
generation
Change in thermal
energy storage
2
1 1
p
T T T T
kr k k q c
r r r z z t
r

| |
| | c c c c c c c
| | | |
+ + + =
| | |
c c c c c c c
\ . \ .
\ .

(2.20)
Spherical Coordinates:
Cylindrical Coordinates:
2
2 2 2 2
1 1 1
sin
sin sin
p
T T T T
kr k k q c
r r t
r r r
u
| | u u
u u
| | c c c c c c c
| | | |
+ + + =
| | |
c c c c c c c
\ . \ .
\ .

(2.33)
Heat Equation (Special Case)
One-Dimensional Conduction in a Planar Medium with Constant Properties
and No Generation
2
2
1 T T
t
x
o
c c
=
c
c
thermal diffu o sivit f the med y ium
p
k
c
o

Boundary Conditions
Boundary and Initial Conditions
For transient conduction, heat equation is first order in time, requiring
specification of an initial temperature distribution: ( ) ( )
0
, , 0
t
T x t T x
=
=
Since heat equation is second order in space, two boundary conditions
must be specified. Some common cases:
Constant Surface Temperature:
( ) 0,
s
T t T =
Constant Heat Flux:
0
|
x s
T
k q
x
=
c
'' =
c
Applied Flux I nsulated Surface
0
| 0
x
T
x
=
c
=
c
Convection
( )
0
| 0,
x
T
k h T T t
x
=
c
= (

c
Properties
Thermophysical Properties
Thermal Conductivity: A measure of a materials ability to transfer thermal
energy by conduction.
Thermal Diffusivity: A measure of a materials ability to respond to changes
in its thermal environment.
Property Tables:
Solids: Tables A.1 A.3
Gases: Table A.4
Liquids: Tables A.5 A.7
Conduction Analysis
Methodology of a Conduction Analysis
Solve appropriate form of heat equation to obtain the temperature
distribution.
Knowing the temperature distribution, apply Fouriers Law to obtain the
heat flux at any time, location and direction of interest.
Applications:
Chapter 5: Transient Conduction
Problem : Thermal Response of Plane Wall
Problem 2.46 Thermal response of a plane wall to convection heat transfer.
KNOWN: Plane wall, initially at a uniform temperature, is suddenly exposed to convective
heating.

FIND: (a) Differential equation and initial and boundary conditions which may be used to find
the temperature distribution, T(x,t); (b) Sketch T(x,t) for the following conditions: initial (t s
0), steady-state (t ), and two intermediate times; (c) Sketch heat fluxes as a function of
time at the two surfaces; (d) Expression for total energy transferred to wall per unit volume
(J/m
3
).
SCHEMATIC:

Problem: Thermal Response (Cont.)
ASSUMPTIONS: (1) One-dimensional conduction, (2) Constant properties, (3) No internal
heat generation.
ANALYSIS: (a) For one-dimensional conduction with constant properties, the heat equation
has the form,

c
c
o
c
c
2
1 T
x
T
t
2
=

( )
i
0
L
Initial, t 0: T x,0 T uniform temperature
Boundaries: x=0 T/ x) 0 adiabatic surface
x=L k T/ x) = h T
c c
c c
s =
=
( ) L,t T surface convection

(

and the
conditions are:
(b) The temperature distributions are shown on the sketch.

Note that the gradient at x = 0 is always zero, since this boundary is adiabatic. Note also that
the gradient at x = L decreases with time.