Heat Transfer

Valerio Marra | September 4, 2013

As a nuclear engineer, I’ve attended many thermal engineering classes. Whereas I’ve enjoyed learning techniques to enhance heat transfer, I’ve also found fascinating those applications where it is important to reduce heat transfer using the right choice and combination of materials and shapes. The design of this is vital for many industries, including the building and aerospace industries. Lately, I came across an interesting example of thermal insulation in the most mundane of these things: clothing design. I had to […]

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Alexandra Foley | September 3, 2013

It’s probably something we have all experienced. We get home, stick last night’s leftovers in the microwave, and sit down to have a nice meal — only to realize that the food is scalding hot one bite and freezing cold the next. This experience has prompted me on more than one occasion to wonder: Why does a microwave heat food so unevenly?

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Fanny Littmarck | August 12, 2013

It seems everyone and their kid brother has a cell phone these days — and we are constantly using them. We don’t just rely on them to make calls anymore, either; they serve as our maps, calendars, to-do lists, channel for social interaction, and so forth. This continuous use begs the question: “What about the radiation our phones emit, and how much of it is absorbed by our brains?” When considering this, scientists use the specific absorption rate (SAR) to […]

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Stephan Savarese | August 7, 2013

Technology and mechanics enthusiasts might agree that engines are very cool — and they also know how fussy they get when running into cooling problems. When it comes to aircraft propulsion, overheating is not an option. Most planes can’t fly safely without an engine, so why run the risk of overheating? While current engine designs limit that risk using clever cooling systems, another path to solve this problem would be to design more energy-efficient engines, exempt from excessive heat release. […]

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Alexandra Foley | August 1, 2013

When thinking about freeze-drying processes, I am reminded of astronaut food like the freeze-dried ice cream I tried as a kid. While this application of freeze-drying is important for preserving food being launched into space, there is also an incredible number of noteworthy applications that are used a little closer to home. Let’s take a look at the freeze-drying process, how it can be simulated, and some of the products and designs that rely on it to function.

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Alexandra Foley | July 29, 2013

A contact switch is used to regulate whether or not an electrical current is passing from a power source and into an electrical device. These switches are found in many types of equipment and they are used to control, for example, the power output from a wall socket into a device when it is plugged in; the currents passing across the circuit board of a computer; or the electricity powering a light bulb when the switch is flipped on. Because of their […]

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Alexandra Foley | July 10, 2013

The flow of fluid through a porous medium is usually described by Darcy’s Law. However, what if you wanted to look at a combination of fluid flow, heat transfer, and mass transport in a porous medium? Instead of using Darcy’s Law, which calculates an average linear velocity for fluid flow in porous media, the Navier-Stokes equations would be necessary in order to obtain accurate results. In addition, heat convection and conduction, as well as mass transport would need to be […]

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Laura Bowen | June 26, 2013

It’s not always obvious what a major role temperature control plays in modern technology, as the interchange happens in the background. Plate heat exchangers, made up of successions of metal plates and various coiled pipes, regulate and manipulate temperature, and they get the job done quickly — thanks to an active surface that is large with respect to their volume.

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Fanny Littmarck | May 1, 2013

Given the title of this blog post you might expect it to be about global warming, and I won’t blame you for it; greenhouse effect has become another popular term used when debating climate change. However, its original and literal meaning refers to a very different process, in particular when it comes to heat retention. Here we will describe the effect of heating up an actual greenhouse and suggest steps for optimizing its design.

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Fanny Littmarck | April 22, 2013

Chemical reaction fluids can be cooled using glass flanges. The reaction fluid is passed through the flange and the air surrounding the flange then serves as the coolant. Engineers looking to optimize the cooling performance of such flanges can look to simulation for help.

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Daniel Smith | March 27, 2013

In a previous blog entry I discussed some of the exotic properties of graphene. The fact that graphene consists of a single layer of atoms means the aspect ratio of any graphene-based structure may be very high. High aspect geometries present their own array of modeling challenges.

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