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Applied Energy 97 (2012) 907912

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Applied Energy
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/apenergy

Investigations on thermo-hydraulic performance due to ow-attack-angle


in V-down rib with gap in a rectangular duct of solar air heater
Sukhmeet Singh a,, Subhash Chander a, J.S. Saini b
a
b

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar National Institute of Technology, Jalandhar, India
Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee, India1

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Article history:
Received 18 July 2011
Received in revised form 28 November 2011
Accepted 29 November 2011
Available online 4 January 2012
Keywords:
V-down rib having gap
Thermo-hydraulic performance
Heat transfer
Friction factor
Articial roughness

a b s t r a c t
In this investigation, thermo-hydraulic performance of rectangular ducts roughened with a new conguration of V-down rib having gap on one wide wall is determined. Small symmetrical gap equal to rib
height is created at the centre of both legs of V of continuous V-down rib. The duct has aspect ratio
(AR) of 12 and the Reynolds number (Re) ranged from 3000 to 15,000. To simulate the indoor testing
of solar air heater, the roughened side of rectangular duct is heated with constant heat ux electric heater
while the other sides are insulated. The roughness has relative roughness height of 0.043 and relative
roughness pitch of 8. Five rib roughened plates having ow-attack-angle (a) from 30 to 75 have been
tested. The thermo-hydraulic performance parameter based on equal pumping power (g), friction factor
(f) and Nusselt number (Nu), were found to be highest for a = 60. The results obtained at a = 60 were
compared with those of continuous V-down rib for same rib-roughness parameters.
2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction
An accepted method to enhance heat transfer from a surface is
to create articial rib roughness on it. The rib destroys viscous sublayer and cause wall turbulence locally because of ow separation
and reattachment. This increases heat transfer. The conventional
at plate solar air heater (SAH) has inherently low efciency due
to presence of viscous sublayer. Numerous studies are reported
on heat transfer enhancement in conventional solar air heater
[17]. Employment of articial rib on the underside of the absorber
of conventional SAH was rst proposed by Prasad and Mullick [8].
The rib roughness is also frequently employed in compact heat
exchangers [9] and gas turbine blades cooling [10] to promote
the heat transfer process. However, simultaneously the pumping
power requirement is increased due to increased friction losses.
This problem has been studied by many researchers in an attempt
to develop rib geometry that can substantially promote the heat
transfer with least pressure drop.
Early investigations on articial roughness relates to orthogonal
rib [11]. Inclined rib was found to cause greater heat transfer than
rib positioned at 90 to the ow i.e. orthogonal rib. Han and Park
[12] and Park et al. [13] studied thermal performance of angled
Corresponding author. Permanent address: School of Energy Studies for Agriculture, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana 141 004, India. Tel.: +91 9465195252;
fax: +91 1812690328.
E-mail address: sukhmeet70@rediffmail.com (S. Singh).
1
Formerly.
0306-2619/$ - see front matter 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.apenergy.2011.11.090

ribs. The results showed the heat transfer enhancement caused


by angled rib is signicantly greater than that caused by orthogonal rib. With the thrust of rib roughness moved to high heat
transfer, Han et al. [14] investigated V-up, V-down and angled
rib. They showed the V-rib resulted in higher performance than
the angled rib. For the range of Reynolds number and duct aspect
ratio normally used in SAH, the V-shape rib pointing downstream
results in higher heat transfer than those pointing upstream
[1518]. The V-down rib also produce lower friction factor than
V-up rib [15,16,18] but Karwa [17] reported otherwise.
The overall thermal and hydraulic performance of continuous
rib can be further increased by discretization. The ow through
the broken rib may disturb boundary layer development down
the nearby reattachment zone [19]. In addition, accelerated ow
through the region between the ribs cause heat transfer enhancement locally because of higher air velocity. Number of investigators have reported that the discretization of inclined ribs
improved heat transfer [1721]. Enhancement in heat transfer
due to discretization of V-shape ribs has also been reported
[16,17,2022]. The heat transfer increase was observed to be inuenced by discretization scheme. Two studies have been reported
for inclined rib having small gap [19,23]. The friction factor and
heat transfer were found to increase due to gap in inclined rib.
The heat transfer was highest for gap width equal to rib height
in continuous inclined rib.
The previous investigations have shown that V-down rib
perform better than V-up rib, which in-turn performs better than
angled as well as orthogonal ribs. It has also been shown that rib

908

S. Singh et al. / Applied Energy 97 (2012) 907912

Nomenclature
Ao
Ap
Cd
Cp
Dh
e/Dh
e
f
fs
Gair
H
h
Kair
Lf
_
m
Nu
Nus

orice area (m2)


absorber plate area (m2)
discharge coefcient
constant pressure specic heat (J/kg K)
hydraulic diameter (m)
relative roughness height
rib height (m)
roughened duct friction factor
smooth duct friction factor
mass velocity (kg/s m2)
duct depth (m)
convective heat transfer coefcient (W/m2 K)
thermal conductivity (W/m K)
duct length for pressure drop (m)
mass ow rate (kg/s)
roughened duct Nusselt number
smooth duct Nusselt number

having gap equal to rib height perform better than continuous rib.
It appears worthwhile to investigate V-down rib having gap equal
to rib height placed at the centre of both legs of V. In the present
investigation, it has been planned to experimentally study the
effect of variation in a of V-down rib having gap. For application
of rib roughness in SAH, one side of the duct is roughened and
given constant heat ux and other three sides are insulated and
kept smooth. In the following sections, the roughness geometry,
experimental details, data reduction and results are presented.

P
P/e
Pr
Qu
Re
Tfm
Ti
To
Tpm
W

a
DPo
dP

qair
qair,o
b

rib pitch (m)


relative roughness pitch
Prandtl number
heat transfer rate to air (W)
Reynolds number
mean temperature of air (C)
inlet temperature of air (C)
average exit temperature of air (C)
average temperature of plate (C)
duct width (m)
angle of attack ()
pressure drop across orice plate (N/m2)
pressure drop across length Lf (N/m2)
air density at mean temperature (kg/m3)
air density at outlet temperature (kg/m3)
orice diameter to pipe diameter ratio

75 mm

2. Rib roughness geometry and parameters range


The general geometry of V-down rib having gap is shown in
Fig. 1. The V-down rib has gap equal to rib height at the centre
of both legs of V. The relative roughness height (e/Dh) and relative
roughness pitch (P/e) were 0.043 and 8 respectively. The rib height
(e) was chosen such that it breaks the viscous sublayer and at the
same time, n and ow passage blockage effects are negligible
[24]. The relative roughness pitch (P/e) was selected as 8 for the
present investigation on V-down rib with gap because it was reported as optimum for continuous V-down rib by Hans et al. [25]
and for inclined rib with gap by Aharwal et al. [23]. The investigation was carried out to determine the friction factor and Nusselt
number due to change in a. Five roughened plates were prepared
for angle of attack (a) of 30, 45, 52, 60 and 75. Articial rib
roughness was created by xing aluminium wires of circular
cross-section on the lowerside of absorber plate. The Re was varied
from 3000 to 15,000.
3. Experimental details
3.1. Experimental setup
For studying the ow characteristics and heat transfer for Vdown rib having gap, an experimental setup has been designed
and fabricated (Fig. 2). The duct has three sections viz., test section,
entry section and exit section. On the exit side a centrifugal blower
and an orice meter are provided. The rectangular duct has
300 mm  25 mm ow cross-section. The respective length of test
section,
section and pexit
pentry

section are 1400 mm, 800 mm


(9:2 WH) and 800 mm
(9:2
WH). The recommended least length
p
p
of entry section is 5 WH, while that of exit section is 2:5 WH
[26]. In test section, the ow can therefore be assumed fully developed. Exit section (800 mm length) was kept longer to minimise

e
e
Fig. 1. General geometry of V-down rib having gap.

the end effects. The top side of the test section is a sheet of galvanised iron (GI) having 1 mm thickness. The length of GI sheet is
2400 mm. It extends 500 mm on both sides in the entry and exit
section. The remaining entry (300 mm) and exit length (300 mm)
are smooth wooden. The inner surface of remaining three sides
of duct are also smooth wooden. The electric heater supplies constant heat ux (1000 W/m2) to absorber. Above the electric heater
is 75 mm-thick glass wool insulation; and on the top is 12 mmthick plywood to hold insulation. The mass ow rate was controlled by gate valve and measured using an orice meter. It was
calibrated with a standard Pitot tube.
For temperature measurement, calibrated 0.3-mm-diameter
copperconstantan thermocouples were employed. Sixteen thermocouples were used to measure temperature of absorber
(Fig. 3). Five thermocouples positioned span-wise after the mixing
section measured outlet air temperature and one thermocouple
positioned at inlet to test section measured inlet air temperature.
A data logger recorded output of the thermocouples. A digital micro-manometer of least count 0.1 Pa was used to measure test section pressure drop.
4. Experimental procedure
Experimental data for ow friction and heat transfer was collected as per the recommendation of ASHRAE Standard 93-77

909

S. Singh et al. / Applied Energy 97 (2012) 907912


Power Input - single phase, 220 V

CVT
V

14

MM

12 Power Input - three

X
Air in

10

phase, 440 V

11

8
X

13
Air out
1 - Entry section (800 mm x 300 mm)
2 - Test section (1400 mm x 300 mm)
3 - Exit section (800 mm x 300 mm)
4 - Mixing section
5 - Transition section
6 - GI pipe (1000 mm x 81 mm diameter)
7 - Inclined U-tube manometer
8 - Orifice plate
9 - GI pipe (1000 mm x 81 mm diameter)
10 - Flexible pipe (1500 mm long)
11 - Gate valve
12 - Electric air blower
13 - Temperature recorder
14 - Variac
A - Ammeter
CVT - Constant volatge transformer
MM - Micro-manometer
V - Voltmeter

All dimensions in mm
Not to the scale

Section at XX
Fig. 2. Schematic of experimental setup.

100

300

Thermocouple
4
1

2
25

175

200

200

Duct section
15

11

8
7

10

9
200

12

14

22
21
20
19
18

16

13
200

200

175

25

Absorber plate

Outlet air
temperature

Fig. 3. Location of thermocouples on absorber plate.

[26] for open loop ow solar collectors. The roughened plates having different values of angle of attack were tested. For comparing
the result of the roughened and smooth duct, a smooth duct was
tested under identical conditions.
At the start of each set of experiment, it was ensured that all
instruments were working properly and there was no leakage at
the joints. Data was collected in steady state. For each set, at the
start it takes 23 h to reach a steady state. The system attained
steady state when no considerable variation in plate temperature
and outlet air temperatures was observed over a period of
10 min. The parameters recorded for each set of experiment were
air temperature at inlet and outlet, absorber temperature, test section pressure drop and orice plate pressure drop.
4.1. Data reduction
_ heat transfer rate to air (Qu), heat transAir mass ow rate (m),
fer coefcient (h), Nusselt number (Nu) and friction factor (f) have
been calculated using the following equations:

_ C d Ao
m

2qair;o DP o
1  b4

_ p T o  T i
Q u mC
h

Qu
Ap T pm  T fm

Nu

hDh
K air

2dPqair Dh
4Lf G2air

0:5
1
2
3

In the above calculations, air properties corresponded to mean air


temperature.
On the basis of error analysis [27], the uncertainties at
Re = 3000 (lowest Re investigated) have been estimated to be
2.41% in Nusselt number, 9.16% in friction factor and 1.67% in

910

S. Singh et al. / Applied Energy 97 (2012) 907912

0.016

f s = 0.085 Re 0.25

0.012

Friction factor

Nusselt number

0.014

Experimental values

60

Nus = 0.023Re0.8 Pr 0.4

40

20

0.010
0.008
0.006
0.004

Experimental values

0.002
0
2000

4000

6000

8000

0.000
2000

10000 12000 14000 16000

4000

6000

8000

10000 12000 14000 16000

Reynolds number

Reynolds number

(a)

(b)

Fig. 4. Comparison of predicted and experimental values of Nusselt number (Nu) and friction factor (f) for conventional SAH duct.

Nusselt number

120
100
80

0.035

=30
=45
=52
=60
=75

60
40

0.025
0.020
0.015

20
0
2000

=30
=45
=52
=60
=75

0.030

Friction factor

140

4000

6000

8000 10000 12000 14000 16000

0.010
2000

4000

6000

8000 10000 12000 14000 16000

Reynolds number

Reynolds number

(a)

(b)

Fig. 5. Nusselt number (Nu) and friction factor (f) of rib roughened duct as a function of Reynolds number (Re).

Reynolds number; and the respective values at Re = 15,000 (highest Re investigated) are 6.76%, 1.67% and 1.62%.
5. Validity test
For validation of experimental setup, the friction factor and
Nusselt number were determined from experimentation on
smooth duct. The respective values were also theoretically
calculated from the smooth duct correlations. For friction factor
the modied Blasius equation [28] and for Nusselt number the
DittusBoelter equation [29] was used.

fs 0:085Re0:25

Nus 0:023Re0:8 Pr0:4

The comparative values are shown in Fig. 4. The average absolute deviation of experimental values of friction factor and Nusselt
number are 7.5% and 2.9% respectively, from the predicted values.
This ensured accuracy of data collected with the present setup.
6. Results and discussion
Fig. 5 shows the effect of Re on Nusselt number and friction
factor for various values of a. As a increases from 30 to 60, the
Nusselt number and friction factor increase and the both reduce
with further increase in a. This variation may be caused by interac-

tion of, secondary ow and boundary layer, at front side of rib. The
boundary layer is due to main ow with the roughened surface and
originates from ow reattachment point between the ribs up to the
succeeding downstream rib. The strength of secondary ow along
the rib changes with change in angle of attack. These two factors
determine the value of Nusselt number and friction factor at different a. The results agree with earlier study on V-down rib by Han
et al. [14].
The SAH duct roughened with V-down rib having gap result in
higher Nusselt number as well as friction factor as compared to
smooth conventional SAH duct. So a performance parameter needs
to be determined that takes into account both Nusselt number and
friction factor to evaluate its usefulness. A thermo-hydraulic performance parameter based on equal pumping power (g) dened
by Webb and Eckert [30] considers both the Nusselt number and
friction factor enhancement.

Nu=Nus
f =fs 1=3

The value of this parameter greater than unity indicates it is


overall advantageous to use roughened duct in comparison with
smooth duct. The effect of Re on this parameter (g) for various values of a is shown in Fig. 6. For all a, the value of g is more than
unity. Hence the performance of SAH duct roughened with V-down
rib having gap is better as compared to smooth duct. It is highest
for a = 60, thereby indicating that it is advantageous to use

911

2.4
2.2
2.0

2.1

=30
=45
=52
=60
=75

Thermo-hydraulic
performance parameter

Thermohydraulic performance
parameter

S. Singh et al. / Applied Energy 97 (2012) 907912

1.8
1.6
1.4
1.2
2000

4000

6000

8000

10000 12000 14000 16000

Reynolds number
Fig. 6. Thermo-hydraulic performance parameter (g) of rib roughened duct as a
function of Reynolds number (Re) for different ow-attack-angle (a).

140

Nusselt number

120
100
80
60
40
20
2000

Discrete V-down rib (=60)


Continuous V-down rib
4000

6000

8000 10000 12000 14000 16000

Reynolds number
Fig. 7. Comparison of variation in Nusselt number (Nu) of SAH duct roughened with
V-down rib having gap and continuous V-down rib.

0.04

2.0
1.9
1.8
1.7
1.6
2000

Discrete V-down rib (=60)


Continuous V-down rib
4000

6000

8000

10000 12000 14000 16000

Reynolds number
Fig. 9. Comparison of variation in thermo-hydraulic performance parameter (g) of
SAH duct roughened with V-down rib having gap and continuous V-down rib.

best thermo-hydraulic performance. The rib roughness parameters


for continuous V-down rib were same. These parameters were P/
e = 8, a = 60 and e/Dh = 0.043. The duct aspect ratio was also same
for the two studies. The Nusselt number is more for V-down rib
having gap in comparison with continuous V-down rib (Fig. 7).
The friction factor is more for V-down rib having gap up to Reynolds number of 9000 (Fig. 8). For a V-down rib, the local Nusselt
number in transverse direction between adjacent ribs reduces
from leading edges to the V-apex due to increase in boundary layer
thickness [15]; and with the creation of gap in the rib, a region of
high local Nusselt number develops downside of the gap [19]. In
present study, symmetrical gap at the centre of both legs of Vdown rib helps in increasing the local Nusselt number downstream
of the gap. Hence the average Nusselt number is more for V-down
rib having gap than continuous V-down rib. The result agrees with
the earlier studies on inclined ribs with gap [19,23]. The thermohydraulic performance parameter (g) of duct roughened with Vdown rib having gap is more than that roughened with continuous
V-down rib (Fig. 9). Therefore the roughness, V-down rib having
gap, is thermo-hydraulically better.

Friction factor

8. Conclusions
0.03

A solar air heater duct roughened with V-down rib having gap
equal to rib height placed at the centre of both legs of V was experimentally investigated for variation in ow-attack-angle. The following conclusions are drawn:

0.02

0.01

Discrete V-down rib (=60)


Continuous V-down rib
0.00
2000

4000

6000

8000 10000 12000 14000 16000

Reynolds number
Fig. 8. Comparison of variation in friction factor (f) of SAH duct roughened with Vdown rib having gap and continuous V-down rib.

V-down rib having gap with a = 60 as compared to other values of


a. The highest value of thermo-hydraulic performance parameter
obtained is 2.06 at Re = 12,000.

1. The friction factor and Nusselt number of the roughened duct


are strong function of ow-attack-angle.
2. The highest friction factor and Nusselt number occur at owattack-angle of 60 and they decrease on both sides of this
angle.
3. The symmetrical gap equal to rib height in both legs of V results
in substantial improvement in the thermo-hydraulic performance parameter based on equal pumping power.
4. The highest thermo-hydraulic performance parameter is 2.06
corresponding to ow-attack-attack of 60.

References
7. Comparison of results
The effect of gap in continuous V-down rib in SAH duct is studied by comparing the results of present study with continuous
V-down rib tested under identical conditions. The V-down rib having gap with a = 60 was considered for comparison as it yielded

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