Numerical investigation on aluminum foam application in a tubular heat exchanger

  • Bernardo Buonomo
  • Anna di Pasqua
  • Davide Ercole
  • Oronzio Manca
  • Sergio Nardini


A numerical study has been conducted to examine the thermal and fluiddynamic behaviors of a tubular heat exchanger in aluminum foam. A plate in metal foam with a single array of five circular tubes is the geometrical domain under examination. Darcy–Forchheimer flow model and the thermal non-equilibrium energy model are used to execute two-dimensional simulations on metal foam heat exchanger. The foam is characterized by porosity and (number) pores per inch respectively equal to 0.935 and 20. Different air flow rates are imposed to the entrance of the heat exchanger with an assigned surface tube temperature. The results are provided in terms of local heat transfer coefficient and Nusselt number evaluated on the external surface of the tubes. Furthermore, local air temperature and velocity profiles in the smaller cross section, between two consecutive tubes are given. Finally, the Energy Performance Ratio (EPR) is evaluated in order to demonstrate the effectiveness of the metal foam.


cp [J/kgK]

Specific heat


Drag factor coefficient

d [m]

Tube diameter

df [m]

Fiber diameter

dp [m]

Pore diameter


Friction factor

h [W/m2K]

Heat transfer coefficient

H [m]

half pitch

Htot [m]

Heat exchanger height


Coulbourn factor

k [W/mK]

Thermal conductivity

K [m2]

Porous Permeability

L [m]



Nusselt number

p [Pa]

Static pressure


Prandtl number

r [m]

Tube radius


Reynolds number

s [m]

Circunferential cooordinate

T [K]


u0 [m/s]

inlet velocity

u [m/s]


v [m/s]


V [m3]


x [m]

Cartesian axis direction

y [m]

Cartesian axis direction

Special characters

αsf [m2]

Area surface density

hsf [W/m2K]

Interfacial heat transfer coefficient

ρ [kg/m3]


Δp [Pa]

Pressure drop



ω [m−1]

Pore per inch

μ [m2/s]

Dynamic viscosity


Generic scalar or vector



System without foam


Diameter of tube




Fluid phase of the porous zone


Metal foam




Solid phase of the porous zone


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Ingegneria Industriale e dell’InformazioneUniversita degli Studi della CampaniaAversaItaly

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