International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer

Manuscript Draft
Manuscript Number: HMT-D-14-00412
Title: Thermal coupling between a spiral pipe and a conducting volume
Article Type: Full Length Article
Keywords: Constructal design; Cooling; Heat pumps; Spiral; Ground heat exchangers
Abstract: Here we document the effect of flow configuration on the heat transfer performance of a
spiral shaped pipe embedded in a cylindrical conducting volume. We considered several configurations
with fixed volumes of fluid and solid. First, we optimized the geometry of two spiral pipes with varying
spacing between the spiral turns and the vertical spacing between the two spirals. Next, we extended
the method to three spiral pipes with varying the spacing between the spiral turns and the spacing
between the spiral pipes, and changing the dimensions of the conducting volume. We found that
optimal spacings between the spiral turns and spire planes exist, such that the volumetric heat transfer
rate is maximal. The optimized features of the heat transfer architecture are robust.

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Thermal coupling between a spiral pipe and a conducting volume

M. Alalaimi1, S. Lorente2, and A. Bejan1*
1

Duke University, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, Durham,

North Carolina 27708-0300, USA
2

Université de Toulouse; UPS, INSA; LMDC (Laboratoire Matériaux et Durabilité des

Constructions); 135, avenue de Rangueil; F-31 077 Toulouse Cedex 04, France

*Corresponding Author

m2 As spiral cross-sectional area. Cooling. Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science. LMDC (Laboratoire Matériaux et Durabilité des Constructions). S. F-31 077 Toulouse Cedex 04. we optimized the geometry of two spiral pipes with varying spacing between the spiral turns and the vertical spacing between the two spirals. We considered several configurations with fixed volumes of fluid and solid. UPS. France Abstract Here we document the effect of flow configuration on the heat transfer performance of a spiral shaped pipe embedded in a cylindrical conducting volume. Next. First. Ground heat exchangers Nomenclature Ac cylinder cross-sectional area. We found that optimal spacings between the spiral turns and spire planes exist. USA 2 Université de Toulouse. Keywords: Constructal design. Heat pumps. 135. Spiral. m D0 pipe diameter. m D diameter of area. m H height. Bejan1 1 Duke University. North Carolina 27708-0300. we extended the method to three spiral pipes with varying the spacing between the spiral turns and the spacing between the spiral pipes. and changing the dimensions of the conducting volume. Alalaimi1. Lorente2. avenue de Rangueil. INSA.*Manuscript Click here to view linked References Thermal coupling between a spiral pipe and a conducting volume M. Durham. The optimized features of the heat transfer architecture are robust. m2 Sx spacing between turns. such that the volumetric heat transfer rate is maximal. and A. m 1 .

m n number of turns r radial coordinate. anything that moves relative to a reference point might be considered as a flow system. The generation of flow configuration in nature and engineering is governed by the constructal law. Any flow system that occurs in nature generates structure and shape over time in 2 . m Greek symbols α thermal diffusivity. m Sz spacing between the two spirals. K Vc volume of cylinder. rad e dimensionless spacing Sx/D ζ dimensionless Sz/H Subscripts * dimensionless avg volume averaged 1. whether this flow is animate such as the human lung and the blood vascular system in the human body. m3 z coordinate. Introduction In nature. m2/s θ angle. s Tc initial temperature.Ls spiral length. m t time. m3 Vs volume of spiral. K Ts pipe temperature. or inanimate such as the river basins and deltas.

Regions of the globe historically sleepy because of extreme warmth or cold were brought to “temperate” climate. the geometry of all the flow designs that occur in nature and engineering is the governing factor in design performance [1-3]. Today. and the spacing between spiral turns. this technology is so prevalent and so useful that it is taken for granted. Heating and air conditioning are technologies that have played a key role in increasing economic activity during the past century [1]. resistances are imperfections (sources of irreversibility) distributed over the flow volume. The fundamental aspect is the focus on the relation between the morphing of the system configuration and the improvements in the global performance of the complex flow system. in accord with constructal design. Therefore. One design consists of using a borehole heat pump. 3 . with pipes buried horizontally or vertically. Thermodynamically. but can be redistributed in order to reduce the global resistance. The choice of horizontal versus vertical ground heat exchangers depends on the condition of the surrounding soil. life style and productivity by this technology. There are two types of ground heat exchangers: open and closed.order to facilitate movement and overcome flow resistance. The open system is a direct heat exchanger between the ground and the medium. The only way to redistribute the imperfections is to vary the flow geometry. The objective is to find the optimum spacing between spiral pipes. which can be utilized economically by drawing heat from low temperature sources [4–22]. The closed system is of the indirect type. Geothermal heat pumps have grown rapidly in many countries since 1980s. Imperfections which cannot be eliminated. In this paper we consider the fundamental configuration of time-dependent heat transfer between spiral pipes and a conducting volume that functions as heat sources or sinks.

2. one fluid and the other solid: an isothermal spiral pipe with fixed diameter D0 and length Ls. namely As = LsSx. Transient heat conduction in the cylindrical volume was simulated using a finite element software package [23]. therefore the spiral length is approximately Ls  Sx n 2 . where Ac is the cylinder 4 cross-sectional area. The initial temperature of the body (Tc) is higher than the temperature of the spiral pipe (Ts). and α is the thermal diffusivity of the solid. The spiral would occupy a disc with radius equal to the number of turns (n) multiplied by the spacing (Sx). Model Consider the heat transfer performance of an embedded heat exchanger shaped as an Archimedean spiral. as shown in Figs. 4 . Sx is the spacing between successive turns. The spiral polar coordinates r is defined as r = a + Sxθ (1) where r = a is the starting point of the spiral. The conservation of energy in the solid is governed by 1  T   t  r r 2 2  T  1  T  T  r     2 2 z 2   r  r  (2) where r. so the spire cross-sectional area is As   n 2S2x . 1 and 2. The heat flow system has two domains. In order to determine how much material is needed to make the spiral. and θ is the angular position expressed in radians. imagine that the spacing between the successive turns (Sx) is very small.2. The cross-sectional area also equals to the spiral length (Ls multiplied by the spacing between the turns (Sx). Two spiral pipes are buried in a solid body with cylindrical shape of volume Vc  A c  H   2 D H . The boundary of the solid cylindrical volume is insulated. θ and z are defined in Fig. and a fixed solid volume with cylindrical shape of diameter D with height H = D/2.

The average temperature of the cylindrical volume decreases with time.Equation (2) can be written in dimensionless form by using the dimensionless variables r*  t*  r . D2 z*  z D T  Ts Tc  Ts T*  T* 1   T*  1  2T*  2T*    r*  t * r* r*  r*  r*2 *2 z*2 (3) (4) Equation (4) was subjected to the initial and boundary conditions T*  1 at t*  0 (5) T*  0 at r*   1. Numerical Method Heat flows from the cylindrical volume to the embedded pipes.1 z* (7) 3. The spacing between the spiral turns can be written in dimensionless form as Sx*  5 Sx  D (9) . which is fixed. The spacing between the spiral turns Sx can be related to the diameter of the cylinder (D) as follows Sx  D. D t . D0  Sx  1 D   n D0   2n  (8) where ε is a dimensionless factor smaller than 1. and it approaches the pipe temperature Ts (or T*  0 ).1 r* (6) T*  0 at z*   1. which varies as the spacing between the turns varies.

The governing equations (2)–(7) were solved numerically using the software COMSOL [23]. Number of elements Mean element size T*.Table 1.0903 7.0895 0.0895 0.2. Mesh accuracy test.48 Finer 454.0895 0. ζ = 0. The dimensionless spacing between the two spirals is Sz*  Sz H  D D (11) The diameter and height of the cylinder are fixed and can be expressed in dimensionless form.181. the spacing between the planes of the two spirals Sz can be related to the height of the cylinder (H) as follows Sz  H. In order to test the accuracy of the grid using a free tetrahedral mesh. Sx*  H* (12) The total length of the spiral is fixed and assumed to be equal to twice the diameter of the cylinder Ls = 2D.782 0.001 Similarly.avg Difference (%) Coarse 38.616 0.0840 - Fine 104. or in dimensionless form LS* = 2.091 0.045 Extremely Fine 9.162 0.2 and fix the duration of the heat transfer process at t * = 6 . lets pick values for ε = 0.044 0.970 0. D0  Sz H  D0 2 (10) where ζ is a dimensionless factor smaller than 1. D* = D/D = 1.912 0.92 Extra Fine 3.026 0.156 0. The dimensionless spacings become Sx*  D* . and H* = H/D = 1/2.065 0.232.

the changes in the vertical spacing ζ do not affect the value of the optimum spacing between the spiral turns εopt. All the simulations in this problem are done with extremely fine mesh identified in Table 1. We are interested in finding the optimum spacings (ε and ζ) that correspond to minimum average temperature of the cylindrical volume Vc. There is an optimum spacing between the spiral turns (εopt = 0. The effect of ζ weakens as ζ becomes greater than 0. The effect of the spacing between the two spirals on the average temperature can be determined by varying the value of ζ after fixing the value of ε to εopt.avg with time. 4 for t * values above and below 0. Figure 4 shows the effect of varying the spacing between the spiral turns ε on the average temperature of the cylindrical volume for three different values of ζ.3. independent of ζ) that corresponds to the minimum average temperature of the cylindrical volume. 7 .3. we found that the optimum spacing εopt is independent of the time t * . as shown in Fig.0. 5. and investigated the effect of the spacing ε on the average temperature T* . By repeating the work of Fig. The spacing between the spiral turns ε is fixed.3. the results for this problem are grid independent and the meshing scheme is free tetrahedral. For this purpose we fixed the duration of the heat transfer process at t * = 0. starting with a coarse mesh proceeding to an extremely fine mesh. the curves become steeper. In the present numerical study.3. As the dimensionless factor ζ increases. 4. We document the effect of the spacing between the two spirals ζ on the average temperature over time. The Effect of Flow Geometry Figure 3 shows the variation of the volume-averaged temperature T*. In all these cases. Table 1 shows the accuracy test for the grid.3.

in this case) that corresponds to the minimum average temperature of the cylindrical volume.5. we optimized the thermal coupling between the cylindrical volume and three spiral pipes embedded in the conducting domain. Figure 9 shows the effect of varying the spacing 8 . as shown in Fig. 8. Figure 7 shows the effect of varying the spacing between the spiral turns ε on the average temperature of the cylindrical volume for three different values of ζ. 6. This optimum spacing εopt does not depend on ζ. Furthermore. 6.3. The effect of the spacing between the three spirals on the dimensionless temperature T* can be determined by varying the value of ζ after fixing the value of ε to εopt. we found that ζopt does not vary with t * in the range t * = 0. There is an optimum spacing between the spiral turns (εopt = 0. we are interested in finding the optimum spacings (ε and ζ) that correspond to minimum average temperature of the cylindrical volume Vc. Next. We started with two spiral pipes embedded in the conducting volume of size H = D. The total volume of the three spiral pipes is the same as the total volume of the two spiral pipes studied earlier. we found that εopt does not depend on time t * . as shown in Fig.1 – 1. The optimum value of ζ that corresponds to the minimum average temperature of the cylindrical volume is 0. By repeating this work for other t * values.The optimum value of ζ that corresponds to the minimum average temperature of the cylindrical volume is ζopt = 0. We extended this study by relaxing the assumption that H = D/2 in order to determine the effect of varying the dimensions of the conducting cylindrical volume on the performance of the thermal coupling. By repeating these simulations for other tx values we found that ζopt does not vary with t * in the range t * = 0. In the case of Fig.35.1 – 1.

3. Concluding remarks By comparing Figs. cf.34 when t * = 0. For three spirals. Figure 10 shows the effect of varying the spacing between the two spirals ζ. Fig. and for three spirals  opt  1/ 3 . The chief conclusion is that the spiral geometry optimized for maximum volumetric 9 . By repeating this work for other t * values. For example.1 – 1. This observation is valid for configurations with two and three spiral pipes. we also found that εopt does not vary with t * .between the spiral turns on the average temperature for three different values of ζ. 13 shows that when the heat exchanger is shorter the optimal horizontal spacing (ε) is larger. The figure shows that the optimum spacing between the three spirals is ζopt = 0. Fig.1 – 1. 9 and 10.3 and that this value does not vary with t * in the range t * = 0. 11 shows that the optimum spacing between the spiral turns is opt  0. We further found that the optimum spacing between the spiral turns is εopt = 0. We relaxed this constraint. and repeated the numerical simulations for Ls = D when H = D. and the performance is poorer ( T* . The optimum spacing between the two spirals is ζ = 0. The comparison shown in Fig. Worth noting is that the optimum spacing between the spirals ζopt is almost equal to inverse of the number of spirals. where for two spirals  opt  1/ 2 . 8. we found that ζopt does not vary with tx in the range tx = 0. the length of the heat exchanger was held fixed at Ls = 2D. 12. avg is larger).5. Furthermore. 5. So far. we conclude that both the optimum spacing between the spiral turns and the optimum spacing between the spirals are independent of the size of the conducting volume. The optimal design and performance for H = D/2 is essentially the same for H = D.3 . 4 and 5 with Figs. The effect of the spacing between the spirals is shown in Fig.

[4] B. D. 1997. The optimum spacing between the spiral turns ε is larger when the heat exchanger is shorter. C. Profs. R. Geothermics 32. Thermal Energy Storage: Systems and Applications (Wiley. Advanced Engineering Thermodynamics. Lorente. Alalaimi’s work was supported by Kuwait University. The constructal law and the evolution of design in nature. Lorente and Bejan’s work was sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.1 – 1. Dincer and M. The method developed in this paper can be extended to the optimization of geometry in more complicated configurations of ground coupled heat exchangers. and L. 10 . 2002). Phys. [5] I. Karytsas. Acknowledgment: Mr. The constructal law of design and evolution in nature. Philos. the optimum spiral geometry that corresponds to minimum average temperature T* . Chichester. Soc. S. Moreover. Sanner. Trans. Bejan. [2] A. Wiley. Rybach. Rosen. 579 (2003). Current status of ground source heat pumps and underground thermal energy storage in Europe.avg does not vary with time t * in the range t * = 0.. Life Rev.heat transfer is robust with respect to changes in several physical parameters. References [1] A. B 365 (2010) 1335–1347. Mendrinos. 8 (2011) 209–240. second ed. [3] A. For example. A. and the performance is poorer. considering a helical spiral pipe embedded in a cylindrical conducting volume and study the effect of varying the radial and axial pitch on the heat transfer performance or conducting similar study for staggered arrangement of spiral pipes. S. Bejan. New York. Lorente. Bejan. .

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Figure 2 The coordinates of the flow system of Fig. Figure 3 The variation of the average dimensionless temperature with time. Figure 5 The effect of the spacing between the spirals (ζ) on the average temperature of the conducting surroundings. Figure 6 The geometry of three spiral pipes embedded in a cylindrical conducting volume. Figure 4 The effect of the spacing between the spiral turns (ε) on the average temperature of the cylindrical body. 13 . 1.Figure captions Figure 1 The geometry of spiral pipes embedded in a cylindrical volume. Figure 7 The effect of the spacing between the spiral turns (ε) on the average temperature of the cylindrical domain. Figure 12 The effect of the spacing between the spirals (ζ) on the average temperature of the cylindrical domain when H = D. Figure 11 The effect of the spacing between the spiral turns (ε) on the average temperature of the cylindrical domain when H = D. Figure 13 The effect of changing the length of the heat exchanger with two spirals when H = D. Figure 9 The effect of the spacing between the spiral turns (ε) on the average temperature of the cylindrical domain when H = D. Figure 10 The effect of the spacing between two spirals (ζ) on the average temperature of the cylindrical domain when H = D. Figure 8 The effect of the spacing between the spirals (ζ) on the average temperature of the cylindrical domain.

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Signed by all authors as follows: Mohammad Alalaimi Sylvie Lorente Adrian Bejan . We confirm that the manuscript has been read and approved by all named authors and that there are no other persons who satisfied the criteria for authorship but are not listed. We confirm that we have given due consideration to the protection of intellectual property associated with this work and that there are no impediments to publication.*Conflict of Interest Statement AUTHOR DECLARATION We wish to confirm that there are no known conflicts of interest associated with this publication and there has been no significant financial support for this work that could have influenced its outcome. In so doing we confirm that we have followed the regulations of our institutions concerning intellectual property. with respect to intellectual property. correct email address which is accessible by the Corresponding Author and which has been configured to accept email from abejan@duke. We further confirm that the order of authors listed in the manuscript has been approved by all of us. including the timing of publication. We understand that the Corresponding Author is the sole contact for the Editorial process (including Editorial Manager and direct communications with the office). We confirm that we have provided a current.edu. submissions of revisions and final approval of proofs. He/she is responsible for communicating with the other authors about progress.