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Convection is classified as i) Natural or free convection ii) Forced convection.

Natural convection occurs when a quiescent fluid is exposed to a hot or cold surface.
If the surface is hot, the fluid next to the surface will be heated, its temperature will
increase and its density will decrease. Due to the decreased density of the fluid next to
the surface, it will rise due to buoyancy. If the surface is cold, then the temperature of
the fluid will be colder than the bulk fluid, its density will decrease and will fall due to
In forced convection, the fluid is forced to flow over a surface or in a tube by external
means such as a pump or a fan.
Convection is also classified as external or internal depending on whether the fluid is
forced to flow over a surface or inside a channel.
Forced Convection
Concept of boundary layer is central to understanding of forced convection heat transfer.
Velocity boundary layer:
Consider flow over a flat plate.When the fluid particles make contact with the
surface,they assume zero velocity.These particles then act to retard the motion of the
particles in the next layer,until at a distance y from he surface, the effect becomes

Laminar region
u -free stream velocity, u -velocity at a distance y from plate surface
For laminar flow, boundary layer thickness is given by, where, Re , x is
x Re , x1/ 2
Reynolds number at distance x from leading edge.
Reynolds number Re , x where -kinematic viscosity of fluid and x-distance from

leading edge.

In many cases laminar and turbulent flow conditions occur.In laminar boundary layer the
flow is highly ordered.the highly ordered behaviour continues until a transition zone is
reached.Conversion from laminar to turbulent condition occurs.Flow in fully turbulent
boundary layer is highly irregular and is characterized by random three dimensional
motion of large particles of fluid.The conversion from laminar to turbulent zone depends
on Reynolds number.The critical Reynolds number for flow over a plate is Re 5 105 .

Laminar & turbulent region

Thermal boundary layer:

Just as velocity boundary layer develops when there is fluid flow over a surface, a
thermal boundary layer develops if the fluid free stream and plate surface temperatures
differ.At the leading edge the temperature profile is uniform. The fluid particles that come
into contact with the plate achieve thermal equilibrium at the plates surface temperature.
In turn these particles exchange energy with those in the adjoining fluid layer and the
temperature gradients develop in the fluid. The region of the fluid in which the
temperature gradient exists is called thermal boundary layer and its thickness is T .It is
defined as the value of y for which the ratio 0.99 where TS -surface temperature

of plate. By Polhausen solution for energy equation, T 1/ 3 where
Prandtl number, Pr p
T -free stream temperature, T-velocity at a distance y from plate surface
At any distance x from the leading edge the local surface heat flux may be obtained by
applying Fouriers law to the fluid at y=o since at the surface there is fluid motion and
energy transfer occurs by conduction.
g T
q k
Above surface there is fluid motion and the energy transfer is by convection.
By Newtons law of cooling,
q h(TS T )
Combining the above two equations,
(TS T )
q and h decrease with increasing x.
Heat transfer rate, q qdAS h(TS T )dAS

Or, q (TS T ) hdAS where h -local heat transfer coefficient

If h is the average heat transfer coefficient for the entire surface,
q hAS (TS T )
Or, h hdAS

Flow over flat surface

Heat transfer to surface in a flowing fluid is dependent on:
1. Geometry of the body.
2. The position or orientation of the body (parallel, perpendicular to
3. Proximity of other bodies.
The heat transfer coefficient varies across the surface of the object.
But the average heat transfer coefficient can be determined from an equation of the form:
Nu C Re m Pr1/ 3 where C & m -constants, Nu -Nusselt number, Pr-Prandtl number
The constants are determined through experiments.
Laminar flow over a flat plate ( Recr 5 10 ):

At a distance x from leading edge, heat transfer coefficient h is given by,

hx 1
Nu x x 0.332 Re x 2 Pr 3
1 1
Average Nu 0.664 Re
L Pr
2 3

Heat transfer rate, Q hA(T TS ) where A -surface area of plate, Ts -surface
temperature, T -flowing medium temperature
Turbulent flow over a plate:
At a distance x from leading edge, heat transfer coefficient h is given by,
hx 4
Nu x x 0.0296 Re x 5 Pr 3
4 1
Average Nu 0.037 Re 5 Pr 3 ;

Combined Laminar & Turbulent flow (5 105 Re L 107 ) :

4 1
Average Nu (0.037 Re 5 871) Pr 3
Flow across a cylinder
Reynolds number is given by, Re

4 AC
In case of other shapes, D is replaced by D
AC -cross section area, P -perimeter
Critical Reynolds number, Recritical 2300
Heat transfer rate, q hA(Ts T ) , A =surface area,
Cross-flow over cylinders
(Fluid properties at average temperature= (Ts T ) / 2 )
1 1 4
hD 0.62 Re 2 Pr 3 Re 85 5
Nucyl 0.3 1
1 ( )
K 2 4 28200 ---Churchill and Bernstein equation

1 (0.4 / Pr)

Flow over spheres
hD 1

Nusph 2 0.4 Re 2 0.06 Re 3 Pr 0.4 ( ) 4 ---Whitaker equation
K s
(Fluid properties at fluid temperature, T ; s alone at surface temperature, Ts )
Nu e ; De D for circular crossection, De 4 Ac / P for others ; Ac =cross-sectional area
Flow though tubes
q mC p (Te Ti ) ;
Constant heat flux( q&)
q q& A ; A =surface area
Te Ti
& p
Constant surface temp
LMTD e i
q h( LMTD ) ;
& T T
ln s e
Ts Ti
hA /( mC )
Te Ts (Ts Ti )e ; Te Ti e
& p

Laminar flow through tube

Nu 4.36 for constant heat flux, Nu 3.66 for constant surface temperature
Turbulent flow through tube
(for both constant heat flux and constant temperature) q& h(Ts T f )
Nu 0.023Re0.8 Pr n ; n=0.4 for heating & 0.3 for cooling---- Dittus-Boelter equation