College of Science & Engineering
The Heat Transfer Lab works with various experiments mainly related to flow in gas turbines and electronics cooling. The group's current focus is gas turbines, electronics cooling, and photovoltaic cell fabrication.
- In gas turbines, the researchers study the flow and heat transfer over turbine cascade endwall, where the flow is operating under high Reynolds number conditions and is highly turbulent with a large range of eddy length scales. Due to the complexity of gas turbine experiments and flow, which includes many simplified models of the real engine, numerical simulations are very helpful in a giving greater insight on the limitations of the test facility and more importantly, the extent to which different numerical models predict the flow in gas turbines. Due to the large range of eddy scales, it has been found by practice that RANS (Reynolds Averaged Navier Stokes) predicts much larger turbulence dissipation which lead to lower levels of turbulence in the cascade. Getting the turbulence right is vital for this kind of flow because it characterizes the mixing within the passage. Therefore, LES models are usually used instead of RANS models. LES requires high computational resources with large RAM and storage memory compared with RANS. The researchers are continuing to use MSI resources to conduct RANS modeling and move into LES simulations using ANSYS Fluent mainly for flow in gas turbines. The researchers have recently begun film cooling experiments and supporting computation for an expanded aspect of the gas turbine heat transfer research. They expect to use RANS and LES turbulence calculations.
- In the electronics cooling studies, the researchers are looking at unsteady, single-phase flow over electronics devices.
- For the solar cell fabrication work, they are analyzing heat and mass transfer in a CVD device designed for perovskite material use to generate the holes and electrons in the cell.
- Other activity includes simulations of sensors for detecting contaminate levels streams and lakes. These simulations are done with ANSYS. Although they are for laminar flows, they are driven by high-speed actuators, so time resolution dictates long computational run times. They are usually in the micro scale.