Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry

, Volume 135, Issue 3, pp 1813–1822 | Cite as

Performance of tubular aluminum foam heat exchangers in multiple row bundles

  • A. Chumpia
  • K. HoomanEmail author


Two sets of aluminum foam cylinders, 5 and 15 mm thick, are being tested in two-row and three-row bundles for their thermo-hydraulic performance. The bundles are formed using fixed transversal and longitudinal pitch distances and subject to airflow between 0.5 and 5.0 at 0.5 m s−1 interval under cross-flow. The effects of foam layer thickness and the number of row under staggered configuration are investigated. Thermo-hydraulic results are benchmarking against those of a conventional finned tube bundle of similar dimensions with pre-determined number of fins and assembled using the same pitch distances.


Metal foams Heat exchangers Condensers Tube bank Tube bundle Cooling towers Cross-flow Geothermal 

List of symbols


Area (\(\hbox {m}^2\))


Specific heat capacity at constant pressure (J kg−1 K−1)


Strut diameter (m)


Core tube internal diameter (m)


Core tube external diameter (m)


Foam or fin annulus internal diameter \(= d_{{\mathrm{o}}}\) (m)


Foam or fin annulus external diameter (m)


Friction factor (–)


Dimensional height (m)


Convective heat transfer coefficient (W \(\hbox {m}^{-2}\) K−1])


Pressure loss coefficient (–)


Thermal conductivity (W m−1 K−1)


Dimensional length (m)


Mass flow rate (kg s−1)


Nusselt number (–)


Pressure (Pa)


Heat transfer rate (W)


Thermal resistance (K W−1)


Reynolds number (–)


Longitudinal pitch distance (m)


Transversal pitch distance (m)


Fin thickness (m)


Fin pitch (m)


Temperature (K or \(^\circ\)C)

\(\vec {u}\)

Air velocity (m s−1)


Universal heat transfer coefficient (W \(\hbox {m}^{-2}\) K−1)


Dimensional width (m)


Ratio of longitudinal pitch to core diameter \(= S_{\mathrm{L}}/d_{\mathrm{o}}\) (–)


Ratio of transversal pitch to core diameter \(= S_{\mathrm{T}}/d_{\mathrm{o}}\)(–)



Full scale


Convective heat transfer coefficient (W \(\hbox {m}^{-2}\) K−1)


Log mean temperature difference (K or \(^\circ\)C)


Number of transfer unit (–)


Proportional–integral–derivative feedback control


Pores per inch [technically in\(^{-1}\), treated as (–)]


Resistance temperature detector


Thermal contact resistance (K/W)

Greek symbols


Differential of


Heat exchanger efficiency (–)


Surface efficiency of aluminum foam (–)


Dynamic viscosity (Pa s)


Mass density (kg \(\hbox {m}^{-3}\))


Porosity (–)

\(\Omega ^*\)

Efficiency function of foam

Common Subscripts


Of the air


Of the colder fluid taking up heat


Of the hotter fluid losing heat


Of inside surface


The largest value


The smallest value


Of outside surface


Of a surface


Overall, total


Of the bulk air free flow stream



The principal author is grateful to QGECE for its financial support to this study. Both authors also express their gratitude to the following individuals: Professor Thomas Rösgen for setting up the PIV facility, giving initial tutorials, and providing supervision on related works in his lab at the Institut Für Fluiddynamik, ETH-Zurich; Mostafa Odabaee for his help in sourcing test specimens; Dr Morteza Khashehchi, who helped process PIV data for velocity check; Joy Wang and Peter Bleakley for helping with data logging instrument; Douglas Malcolm for helping with wind tunnel operation and air velocity PID control program; and lastly Berto Di Pasquale for general fabrication of in-house parts and accessories.


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Queensland Geothermal Energy Centre of Excellence School of Mechanical and Mining EngineeringUniversity of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

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