Experiments in Fluids

, Volume 49, Issue 5, pp 1021–1037

Non-intrusive measurements of convective heat transfer in smooth- and rough-wall microchannels: laminar flow

Research Article


The convective heat transfer behavior of laminar flow through a smooth- and two rough-wall microchannels is investigated by performing non-intrusive and spatially resolved measurements of fluid temperature via two-color fluorescent thermometry under constant heat flux conditions at three of the four microchannel walls. Pressure-drop measurements reveal that the apparent friction factors for all surfaces agree well with established macroscale predictions for laminar flow through rectangular ducts with the onset of transition at Re > Recr = 1,800 for smooth-wall flow and deviation from laminar behavior at progressively lower Re with increasing surface roughness. The local Nu for smooth-wall flow agrees well with macroscale predictions in both the thermally developing and developed regimes. With increasing roughness, while an enhancement in local Nu is noted for flow in the thermally developing regime, no measurable influence is noted upon attainment of a thermally developed state. These observations are supported by the examination of temperature profiles across the microchannel at various axial positions and Re, which suggest that the thermal boundary layer may be regenerated locally by roughness in the thermal entrance region of the flow resulting in an increased axial distance (compared to smooth-wall behavior) at which thermally developed flow is attained in the presence of roughness. Finally, estimates of the bulk Nu indicate enhancement in convective heat transfer over the smooth-wall case for laminar flow at higher Re while the smooth-wall bulk Nu data are found to agree well with macroscale predictions.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mechanical Science and EngineeringUniversity of IllinoisUrbanaUSA

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