June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
13.1321.1 - 13.1321.21
Use of Spreadsheets in Solving Heat Conduction Problems in Fins
Excel is an effective and inexpensive tool available on all computers equipped with Microsoft Office. This software has the necessary functions for solving a large class of engineering problems, including those related to heat transfer. This paper provides several examples to demonstrate the application of Excel in solving problems involving one-dimensional heat conduction in various fin configurations. It provides formulas for the temperature distribution and heat transfer for several different fin profiles.
An introductory course in heat transfer typically covers the basic analysis of one-dimensional heat conduction problems involving fins with simple geometrical configurations. The analytical coverage is usually limited to fins of uniform cross-sectional area. For more complex fin configurations, only fin efficiency charts are provided in most heat transfer textbooks.1-15 These charts approximate the rate of heat transfer, but do not provide any information on the temperature distribution in fins. Microsoft Excel, can be a useful tools in solving heat conduction problems for a variety of fin configurations.
Numerical solution of heat transfer problems has been an evolving phenomenon. In the early stages, the application tools have undergone a gradual progression through slide rules, simple calculators, mainframe computers, desktop and laptop computers. Prior to 1972, slide rules were the essential computational tools for solving engineering problems and computers were seldom used for analysis of heat transfer problems at the undergraduate level. Many of the more complex analytic solutions to heat transfer problems were given in graphs or charts. A few examples include graphs for fin efficiencies, transient temperature distribution charts for heat transfer in slabs, cylinders, or spheres (Heisler Charts), and radiation shape (view) factor charts.
In the early 1970’s calculators replaced slide rules as the basic computational tool for solving engineering problems. A few years later programmable calculators were available. Modules containing basic solutions to heat transfer problems were developed for these calculators. Authors included sections in their textbooks to introduce students to numerical techniques for solving heat transfer problems.
The computer application software for solving engineering problems has also changed. Prior to the introduction of personal computers (PCs) in the early 1980’s, complex computer codes were needed for numerical solution of heat transfer problems and the knowledge of a computer programming language was essential for integrating numerical solutions into heat transfer courses. Access to mainframe computers and proficiency in such programming languages as FORTRAN and PASCAL were necessary for solving complex heat transfer problems. Therefore, mechanical engineering programs required a course in one of the structured computer programming languages.
Karimi, A. (2008, June), Use Of Spreadsheets In Solving Heat Conduction Problems In Fins Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. https://peer.asee.org/4070
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