A common tool for the determination of thermal characteristics of vehicle radiators is the experimental testing. However, experimental testing may not be feasible considering the cost and labor-time. Basic understanding of the past experimental data and analytical/computational modeling can significantly enhance the effectiveness of the design and development phase. One such computational modeling technique is the utilization of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis to predict the thermal characteristics of a vehicle radiator. However, CFD models are also not suitable to be used as a design tool since considerable amount of computational power and time is required due to the multiple length scales involved in the problem, especially the small-scale geometric details associated with the fins. Although fins introduce a significant complexity for the problem, the repetitive and/or regular structure of the fins enables the porous medium based modeling. By porous modeling, a memory and time efficient computational model can be developed and implemented as an efficient design tool for radiators. In this work, a computational methodology is described to obtain the hydrodynamic and thermal characteristics of a vehicle radiator. Although the proposed methodology is discussed in the context of a vehicle radiator, the proposed methodology can be implemented to any compact heat exchanger with repetitive fin structures which is an important problem for many industrial applications.
Part of the book: Heat Exchangers