Flow over a Finned Tube Heat Exchanger – Simulation Example


Finned tube heat exchangers consist of an array of tubes each having a dense fin stack. The fluid passes through the tubes and conducts the heat to the fins, which dissipate heat to air that is blown over the fin via forced convection. These types of heat exchangers are generally employed where the heat transfer coefficient is much higher on one side of the heat exchanger than the other. Applications typically involve heating or cooling air or other gases. Typical examples of applications where finned tubes are used include economizers, waster heat recovery units, fired heaters, oil heaters, air coolers, etc.


In this simulation example, we will learn how to simulate the air flow over a finned tube bank made of aluminum and analyze the heat transfer from the extended surfaces (fins) to the crossflow.  We will also compare the heat transfer when the tubes and the fins are made of steel.


Download the Mesh file required for setting up the simulation and associated Case & Data files here. Follow the instructions below to set up this simulation in Ansys Fluent starting with the Mesh file. In case you face any issues setting up or running the simulation, refer to the corresponding initial and final Case and Data files. 

Alternate video link.

Results and Discussion 

Let’s now look at the results to understand the heat transfer between the fins and the cross-flowing air of the finned tube heat exchanger.