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Heat Transfer

Chapter 5
Universitry of Technology
Materials Engineering Department
MaE216: Heat Transfer and Fluid
Understand the limitations of analytical solutions of
conduction problems, and the need for computation-
intensive numerical methods
Express derivates as differences, and obtain finite
difference formulations
Solve steady one- or two-dimensional conduction
problems numerically using the finite difference method
Solve transient one- or two-dimensional conduction
problems using the finite difference method
In Chapter 2, we solved various heat
conduction problems in various
geometries in a systematic but highly
mathematical manner by
(1) deriving the governing differential
equation by performing an energy
balance on a differential volume
(2) expressing the boundary
conditions in the proper mathematical
form, and
(3) solving the differential equation
and applying the boundary conditions
to determine the integration
Analytical solution methods are limited to
highly simplified problems in simple
The geometry must be such that its entire
surface can be described mathematically
in a coordinate system by setting the
variables equal to constants.
That is, it must fit into a coordinate system
perfectly with nothing sticking out or in.
Even in simple geometries, heat transfer
problems cannot be solved analytically if
the thermal conditions are not sufficiently
Analytical solutions are limited to problems
that are simple or can be simplified with
etter Modeling
n attempting to get an analytical solution
hysical problem, there is always the
ncy to oversimplify the problem to make
athematical model sufficiently simple to
nt an analytical solution.
efore, it is common practice to ignore any
s that cause mathematical complications
as nonlinearities in the differential
tion or the boundary conditions
nearities such as temperature
ndence of thermal conductivity and the
tion boundary conditions).
thematical model intended for a numerical
on is likely to represent the actual
em better.
numerical solution of engineering
ems has now become the norm rather
gineering problems often require extensive parametric studies
nderstand the influence of some variables on the solution in
er to choose the right set of variables and to answer some
at-if” questions.
s is an iterative process that is extremely tedious and time-
suming if done by hand.
mputers and numerical methods are ideally suited for such
culations, and a wide range of related problems can be solved
minor modifications in the code or input variables.
ay it is almost unthinkable to perform any significant
mization studies in engineering without the power and flexibility
omputers and numerical methods.
e problems can be solved analytically,
e solution procedure is so complex and
esulting solution expressions so
licated that it is not worth all that effort.
the exception of steady one-dimensional
nsient lumped system problems, all heat
uction problems result in partial
ential equations.
ng such equations usually requires
ematical sophistication beyond that
red at the undergraduate level, such as
gonality, eigenvalues, Fourier and
ce transforms, Bessel and Legendre
ons, and infinite series.
ch cases, the evaluation of the solution,
h often involves double or triple
mations of infinite series at a specified
uman Nature Analytical solutions are necessary
because insight to the physical
phenomena and engineering wisdom
is gained primarily through analysis.
The “feel” that engineers develop
during the analysis of simple but
fundamental problems serves as an
invaluable tool when interpreting a
huge pile of results obtained from a
computer when solving a complex
A simple analysis by hand for a
limiting case can be used to check if
the results are in the proper range.
In this chapter, you will learn how to
formulate and solve heat transfer
problems numerically using one or
more approaches.
numerical methods for solving differential
tions are based on replacing the
ential equations by algebraic equations.
case of the popular finite difference
od, this is done by replacing the
atives by differences.
w we demonstrate this with both first- and
nd-order derivatives.

finite difference
form of the first

Taylor series expansion of the function f

about the point x,

The smaller the x, the smaller

the error, and thus the more
accurate the approximation.
der steady one-dimensional heat conduction in a plane wall of thickness L
eat generation.

Finite difference representation

of the second derivative at a
general internal node m.

no heat generation
Finite difference formulation for steady two-
dimensional heat conduction in a region with
heat generation and constant thermal
section we develop the finite difference
ation of heat conduction in a plane wall
he energy balance approach and
s how to solve the resulting equations.
ergy balance method is based on
ding the medium into a sufficient
r of volume elements and then
g an energy balance on each element.
equation is applicable to each of the
interior nodes, and its application
s M - 1 equations for the determination
mperatures at M + 1 nodes.
two additional equations needed to
e for the M + 1 unknown nodal
peratures are obtained by applying the
gy balance on the two elements at the
undary Conditions
dary conditions most commonly encountered in practice are the
fied temperature, specified heat flux, convection, and radiation
dary conditions, and here we develop the finite difference formulations
em for the case of steady one-dimensional heat conduction in a plane
of thickness L as an example.
node number at the left surface at x = 0 is 0, and at the right surface at
it is M. Note that the width of the volume element for either boundary
is x/2.

cified temperature boundary condition

n other boundary conditions such as the specified heat flux, convection,
ation, or combined convection and radiation conditions are specified at a
ndary, the finite difference equation for the node at that boundary is obtained
riting an energy balance on the volume element at that boundary.

finite difference form of various

dary conditions at the left boundary:
Schematic for
the finite
formulation of
the interface
condition for two
ating Insulated Boundary Nodes as Interior Nodes:
Mirror Image Concept

The mirror image approach can also be

used for problems that possess thermal
symmetry by replacing the plane of
symmetry by a mirror.
Alternately, we can replace the plane of
symmetry by insulation and consider
only half of the medium in the solution.
The solution in the other half of the
medium is simply the mirror image of the
solution obtained.

ode 1

ode 2
ct solution:
finite difference formulation of
dy heat conduction problems
lly results in a system of N
braic equations in N unknown
al temperatures that need to be
ed simultaneously.
e are numerous systematic
oaches available in the literature,
they are broadly classified as
ct and iterative methods.
direct methods are based on a
number of well-defined steps that
t in the solution in a systematic
iterative methods are based on an
l guess for the solution that is
ed by iteration until a specified
ergence criterion is satisfied.
e of the simplest iterative methods is the Gauss-Seidel iteration.
Sometimes we need to consider heat transfer
in other directions as well when the variation
of temperature in other directions is
We consider the numerical formulation and
solution of two-dimensional steady heat
conduction in rectangular coordinates using
the finite difference method.
uare mesh:
undary Nodes
region is partitioned between the
es by forming volume elements
nd the nodes, and an energy
nce is written for each boundary
nergy balance on a volume
ent is

assume, for convenience in

ulation, all heat transfer to be into the
me element from all surfaces except
pecified heat flux, whose direction is
ady specified.

Node 1

Node 2
Node 3

Node 5

Node 6
Nodes 7, 8

gular Boundaries
Many geometries encountered in practice
such as turbine blades or engine blocks do
not have simple shapes, and it is difficult to
fill such geometries having irregular
boundaries with simple volume elements.
A practical way of dealing with such
geometries is to replace the irregular
geometry by a series of simple volume
This simple approach is often satisfactory
for practical purposes, especially when the
nodes are closely spaced near the
More sophisticated approaches are
available for handling irregular boundaries,
and they are commonly incorporated into
the commercial software packages.
ite difference solution of transient
ms requires discretization in time in
n to discretization in space.
done by selecting a suitable time step
solving for the unknown nodal
atures repeatedly for each t until the
n at the desired time is obtained.
sient problems, the superscript i is used
index or counter of time steps, with i = 0
ponding to the specified initial condition.
t method: If temperatures at the previous
ep i is used.
t method: If temperatures at the new time
+ 1 is used.
sient Heat Conduction in a Plane Wall

mesh Fourier number

at generation and  = 0.5

emperature of an interior node at

w time step is simply the average
temperatures of its neighboring
at the previous time step.
bility Criterion for Explicit Method: Limitation on t
xplicit method is easy to use, but it suffers
n undesirable feature that severely restricts
ty: the explicit method is not unconditionally
, and the largest permissible value of the time
t is limited by the stability criterion.
ime step t is not sufficiently small, the
ons obtained by the explicit method may
te wildly and diverge from the actual solution.
oid such divergent oscillations in nodal
ratures, the value of t must be maintained
a certain upper limit established by the
ity criterion.

The implicit method is
unconditionally stable, and thus we
can use any time step we please
with that method (of course, the
smaller the time step, the better the
accuracy of the solution).
The disadvantage of the implicit
method is that it results in a set of
equations that must be solved
simultaneously for each time step.
Both methods are used in practice.

cit finite difference formulation

Node 1

Node 2
cit finite difference formulation

Node 1

Node 2
-Dimensional Transient Heat Conduction

Stability criterion

Node 2

Node 3

Node 4
Node 5

Node 6

Nodes 7, 8
Node 9
teractive SS-T-CONDUCT Software

e SS-T-CONDUCT (Steady State and Transient Heat

nduction) software was developed by Ghajar and his
-workers and is available from the online learning
nter ( to the instructors and
e software is user-friendly and can be used to solve
any of the one- and two-dimensional heat conduction
oblems with uniform energy generation in rectangular
ometries discussed in this chapter.
r transient problems the explicit or the implicit solution
ethod could be used.
Why numerical methods?
Finite difference formulation of differential equations
One-dimensional steady heat conduction
 Boundary conditions
 Treating Insulated Boundary Nodes as Interior Nodes: The
Mirror Image Concept
Two-dimensional steady heat conduction
 Boundary Nodes
 Irregular Boundaries
Transient heat conduction
 Transient Heat Conduction in a Plane Wall
 Stability Criterion for Explicit Method: Limitation on t
 Two-Dimensional Transient Heat Conduction