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Flow Field Structure, Characteristics of Thermo-Hydraulic and Heat Transfer Performance Analysis in a Three Dimensions Circular Tube with Different Ball Turbulators Configurations


This paper presents the findings from a research study using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) on the impact of different diameter Ball Tabulators Inserts (BTI) on the three-dimensional flow pattern and heat transfer characteristics within a circular tube. This analysis was carried under uniform heat flux conditions with different BTI diameters (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 mm). Fluid flow, pressure drop, dynamic pressure, velocity components, thermo-hydraulic, turbulent kinetic energy, and turbulent viscosity were analysed qualitatively and quantitatively. The performance evaluation results revealed that the characteristics of flow behaviour and the velocity field contours variations are closely associated with the BTI configurations. Also, the computational results indicated that the change in fluid flow velocity near the pipe wall and around the BTI is important parameters for the heat transfer enhancement as compared to that obtained without BTI under the same conditions. Moreover, using BTI presented a distinguished influence on the rate of heat transfer. Additionally, vortex flow through means of this kind of BTI is an important parameter in the enhancement of heat transfer. The use of BTI can enhance the rate of heat transfer performance by more than 46%. Furthermore, the maximum value for the PEF is found to be more than 1.03.

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Three dimensions


Ball Tabulators Inserts


Computational Fluid Dynamics

C p :

Specific heat coefficient

D :

Pipe diameter

d e :

Pipe effective diameter


Smooth pipe friction factor

h :

Heat transfer coefficient

i, j, k :

Velocity directions in X, Y and Z

k :

Fluid thermal conductivity

L :

Pipe length

w :

Mass flow


Smooth pipe Nusselt number

P :



Performance Evaluation Factor

t :


T :


T b :

Bulk temperature


Turbulent kinetic energy

T in :

Inlet temperature

T out :

Outlet temperature

v :

Flow velocity

U :

Fluid velocity

ρ :


μ :

Dynamic viscosity


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The author of this present work would like to thank Mustansiriyah University ( Baghdad—Iraq for its support.


This study was not funded.

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Correspondence to Ahmed Ramadhan Al-Obaidi.

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Al-Obaidi, A.R., Chaer, I. Flow Field Structure, Characteristics of Thermo-Hydraulic and Heat Transfer Performance Analysis in a Three Dimensions Circular Tube with Different Ball Turbulators Configurations. Arab J Sci Eng 46, 12253–12282 (2021).

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  • Flow structure
  • Thermo-hydraulic flow
  • Heat transfer performance
  • Ball turbulators
  • CFD