Heat and Mass Transfer

, Volume 54, Issue 2, pp 553–562 | Cite as

Numerical simulation of heat transfer in metal foams

  • Priyatham Gangapatnam
  • Renju KurianEmail author
  • S. P. Venkateshan


This paper reports a numerical study of forced convection heat transfer in high porosity aluminum foams. Numerical modeling is done considering both local thermal equilibrium and non local thermal equilibrium conditions in ANSYS-Fluent. The results of the numerical model were validated with experimental results, where air was forced through aluminum foams in a vertical duct at different heat fluxes and velocities. It is observed that while the LTE model highly under predicts the heat transfer in these foams, LTNE model predicts the Nusselt number accurately. The novelty of this study is that once hydrodynamic experiments are conducted the permeability and porosity values obtained experimentally can be used to numerically simulate heat transfer in metal foams. The simulation of heat transfer in foams is further extended to find the effect of foam thickness on heat transfer in metal foams. The numerical results indicate that though larger foam thicknesses resulted in higher heat transfer coefficient, this effect weakens with thickness and is negligible in thick foams.


Metal foam Vertical channel Porous media LTE LTNE Foam thickness 



Surface area of the aluminum plate, m2


Coefficients of fit in Eq. 15


Form drag coefficient, m−1


Specific heat at constant pressure, J/kg K


Heat transfer coefficient, W/m2 K


Permeability of foam assembly, m2


Effective thermal conductivity of porous medium defined in Eq. 14, W/m K


Thermal conductivity of air, W/m K


Thermal conductivity of solid foam material, W/m K


Length of aluminum foam assembly along flow direction, m


Nusselt number based on foam thickness, h H/k f


Number of pores per inch of metal foam


Pressure drop across test section, Pa


Heat input, W

Q loss

Heat loss through the insulation, W


Reynolds number based on foam thickness, U H/ν


Surface temperature of aluminum plate, C


Excess temperature of air over ambient defined in Eq. 18, C


Inlet velocity of air in the flow direction, m/s


Velocity vector, m/s


Total energy of the medium


Enthalpy source term

Greek Symbols


Dynamic viscosity of air, kg/m-s


Kinematic viscosity of air, m2/s


Density of air, kg/m3


Volumetric porosity of the metal foam







Heat loss through the insulation



\(\infty \)

Ambient conditions


Solid-fluid interface


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Priyatham Gangapatnam
    • 1
  • Renju Kurian
    • 1
    Email author
  • S. P. Venkateshan
    • 1
  1. 1.Heat Transfer and Thermal Power Laboratory, Department of Mechanical EngineeringIndian Institute of Technology MadrasChennaiIndia

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