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You are on page 1of 4

Introduction

In this exercise we will use the finite-volume method (FVM) to solve a transient, 1-D

conduction problem that models the contacting of two dissimilar materials having different initial

temperatures. Let us assume that one of the materials represents your finger, while the other is

one of the several inorganic materials we want to test. We will start with the temperature of the

material being tested high enough that you would expect to experience discomfort and possibly a

burn if you touched it for long enough. Then we will run the calculation for a brief period of time

and compare results for three materials.

Implementation

A sketch of the 1-D geometry is shown below. For a start let us take the grid spacing as

x = .0001 m and place 20 nodes in the section representing your finger and 20 in the other

material. (You should design your spreadsheet or program so that these numbers can be changed

easily.)

1

19

Finger

20

21

22

39

40

Other

The appropriate density, specific heat and initial temperature may be readily assigned to

each node. The assignment of the thermal conductivity is slightly complicated by the fact that, as

explained later, we need the values at the cell boundaries rather than at their centers. Let us adopt

the convention that ki represents the conductivity at the right edge of cell i; then ki-1 will be

the value to its left. The assignment of values is then straightforward, except at the interface

between the two materials (k20 for the grid arrangement shown above). Here it is probably

appropriate to say that you have a layer of flesh of thickness x/2 in series with a layer of

thickness x/2 of the material being tested and then assign the appropriate equivalent value. We

are assuming here that there is no contact resistance between the two materials; you could

readily include a non-zero value of contact resistance as a third resistance in series at this

location. (Indeed, if you were doing a real physical experiment rather than this computer

simulation, you might deliberately add some extra thermal resistance between yourself and the

hot surface by wetting your finger.)

With properties denoted as 1-D vectors (in fact, the density and specific heat may be

combined into one variable since they always appear as a product), the transient heat balance

equation may be written in an explicit form as:

p

p

Ti p+1 - Tip

Tip - Ti-1

Ti+1

- Tip

(c p )i

x A = - k i-1A

- (-)k i A

t

x

x

1/11/07

That is, the time rate of change of stored thermal energy is equal to the difference between the

energy conducted in through the left side and that conducted out through the right. Here the

superscript p refers to the current time level, while p+1 refers to the advanced (unknown) time

level. One negative sign in each of the conduction terms on the right comes from Fouriers Law;

the other one in the second term comes from our convention that a positive flux into the left side

is a net addition to that cell, while a positive flux through the right side represents a loss to that

cell. This equation, when solved for the unknown Tip+1 , gives a prescription which can be used

to predict temperatures in terms of known values. Note that the cross-sectional area (A) cancels

out.

Upon studying the above equation and our nodalization (Figure 1), it should be evident

why the heat capacity multiplying the storage term is evaluated at cell centers while the thermal

conductivity that appears in the two flux terms is evaluated at the edges. By evaluating the

thermal conductivity at the edges, we can be sure that a term having equal magnitude and

opposite sign appears in the heat balance we apply at the next-door neighbor - thereby ensuring

that our scheme conserves energy exactly. Some authors will emphasize this placement of the

thermal conductivity at the cell edges by designating it as k i1/ 2 , k i+1/ 2 , etc., but unfortunately

computers do not like fractional subscripts.

Start with an initial flesh temperature of 30oC and an initial material temperature of

300 C. Take the outer boundaries to be fixed for all time at these values. Especially for a high

thermal conductivity material like cast iron, this assumption may be faulty. If you choose to do

an explicit calculation as derived above, you will need to compute the allowable time step (t ) .

o

This value can be determined by solving the above equation for the unknown Tip+1 and then

transfer text.) The result you get from this analysis reduces to the usual restriction on timestep r

(= Fo) 1 2 for a slab of a single material. Here the limiting timestep could arise in the finger

nodes (1-19), in the other material (nodes 21-40) or at either of the hybrid nodes adjacent to the

interface (20 and 21). You will need to check all four of these possibilities and then apply the

minimum of the four. The particular cell that limits the timestep is not necessarily the same one

for all three materials. For the soapstone and shuttle tile runs the limiting timestep will be pretty

reasonable; for the cast iron it will be very small, and you might be well advised to switch to an

implicit formulation.

Material properties are supplied in the following table:

Material

Density

Flesh

1000

7608

2793

144.2

Cast Iron

Soapstone

Space Shuttle tile

(kgm )

3

Specific Heat J

kg K )

Thermal

conductivity W

4181

0.37

400

971

878.6

80.2

2.15

.06

m K

In lieu of better information, values for water are listed for the density and specific heat

of flesh; the thermal conductivity is a value for skin. (Since we are performing this experiment

on the computer rather than for real, it might be more appropriate to use the values tabulated in

the appendix of most textbooks for chicken meat!) For most of their approximately 8 cm.

thickness, space shuttle tiles are made out of a material with the properties given in the table. (It

is almost like Styrofoam.) There is, in fact, a thin, almost egg-shell-like layer on the outside

which has a much higher thermal conductivity than that given in the table. We will neglect that

layer in this analysis.

Figure 2. Sample of space shuttle tile. This piece is from the windward (under)

side and coated with a high emissivity coating to enhance radiative losses.

Run your calculation out to an elapsed time of 0.1 seconds, which is probably a

reasonable estimate of how long it would take you to respond if your hand were being burned.

Plot your results (temperature vs. position at time = 0.1 secs.) for the three materials and

comment. Is the assumption that the temperatures at the left end of the finger and the right end

of the other material do not change during this transient good for all three cases? Can you

explain why it is so much more comfortable to step with your bare feet onto a rug instead of on

bare tile or porcelain at the same temperature?

Verification

As long as the elapsed time is insufficient for the transient to propagate to the outer edges

of the computing region we have chosen, then an analytical solution based on two semi-infinite

solids placed in contact is valid. From that solution we can solve for the interface temperature in

terms of the initial temperatures of the two bodies and their thermal properties [1]:

1

Ts =

1

1

(kc )A2 + (kc )B2

TB,i

From that solution you determine the contact temperature for each of the three cases (surprisingly

enough it is not a function of time) and compare to what your program predicts. For space

shuttle tile and the soapstone, the 0.1 second duration of the transient as suggested earlier is

sufficiently short that good agreement between this analytical prediction and the numerical

solution will be found. Unless you make your cast iron layer thicker than suggested, you should

find that the semi-infinite approximation is not valid that long into the transient.

Reference

Incropera, F.P. and DeWitt, D.P., Fundamentals of Heat and Mass Transfer, 5th Ed., Wiley, NY,

2002.

touch 11/27/07

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