AIMS Energy, 2020, 8(1): 27-47. doi: 10.3934/energy.2020.1.27

Research article

Export file:


  • RIS(for EndNote,Reference Manager,ProCite)
  • BibTex
  • Text


  • Citation Only
  • Citation and Abstract

3D-printed tubes with complex internal fins for heat transfer enhancement—CFD analysis and performance evaluation

1 Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, University of Arizona Tucson, AZ 85721, USA
2 Visiting scholar from Xi’an Aerospace Propulsion Technology Institute, Xi’an, Shaanxi 710025, China
3 Visiting scholar from Central American Technological University, Tegucigalpa, Republic of Honduras
4 Visiting scholar from Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an, Shaanxi, 710049, China

Additive manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D printing technology, is applied to fabricate complex fin structures for heat transfer enhancement at inner surface of tubes, which conventional manufacturing technology cannot make. This work considered rectangular fins, scale fins, and delta fins with staggered alignment at the inner wall of heat transfer tubes for heat transfer enhancement of internal flows. Laminar flow convective heat transfer at 500 < Re < 2000 has been numerically studied, and heat transfer performance of the tubes with 3D-printed interrupted fins has been compared to that with conventional straight continuous fins and smooth tubes. The benefit from heat transfer enhancement and the loss due to increased pumping pressure is evaluated using the total entropy generation rate in the control volume of heat transfer tube. The heat transfer coefficient in tubes with interrupted fins in staggered arrangement can have 2.6 times of that of smooth tube and 1.4 times of that with conventional continuous straight fins. The entropy generation in the tubes with interrupted fins in staggered arrangement only has 30–50% of that of smooth tube or tube with traditional continuous straight fins. The benefit of using interrupted fins in staggered arrangement is significant.
  Article Metrics


1. Chua CK, Leong KF, Lim CS (2003) Rapid Prototyping: Principles and Applications, 2nd ed., World Scientific Publishing Co.: Singapore.

2. Manfredi D, Calignano F, Krishnan M, et al. (2013) From powders to dense metal parts: Characterization of a commercial AlSiMg alloy processed through direct metal laser sintering. Materials 6: 856-869.    

3. Louvis E, Fox P, Sutcliffe CJ (2011) Selective laser melting of aluminum components. J Mater Process Technol 211: 275-284.    

4. Gan MX, Wong CH (2016) Practical support structures for selective laser melting. J Mater Process Technol 238: 474-484.    

5. Shah RK, Sekulic DP (2003) Fundamentals of Heat Exchanger Design (Mechanical Engineering). John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Hoboken, New Jersey.

6. Tang D, Li DY, Peng YH (2011) Optimization to the tube-fin contact status of the tube expansion process. J Mater Process Technol 211: 573-577.    

7. Gouda RK, Pathak M, Khan MK (2018) Pool boiling heat transfer enhancement with segmented finned microchannels structured surface. Int J Heat Mass Transfer 127: 39-50.    

8. Abdel-Aziz MH, Sedahmed GH (2019) Natural convection mass and heat transfer at a horizontal spiral tube heat exchanger. Chem Eng Res Des 145: 122-127.    

9. Dede EM, Joshi SN, Zhou F (2015) Topology optimization, additive layer manufacturing, and experimental testing of an air-cooled heat sink. ASME J Mech Des 137: 111403.    

10. Kwon BJ, Liebenberg L, Jacobi AM, et al. (2019) Heat transfer enhancement of internal laminar flows using additively manufactured static mixers. Int J Heat Mass Transfer 137: 292-300.    

11. Saltzman D, Bichnevicius M, Lynch S, et al. (2018) Design and evaluation of an additively manufactured aircraft heat exchanger. Appl Therm Eng 138: 254-263.    

12. Lazarov BS, Sigmund O, Meyer KE, et al. (2018) Experimental validation of additively manufactured optimized shapes for passive cooling. Appl Energy 226: 330-339.    

13. Hartnett JP, Irvine TF, Cho YI (1970) Advances in Heat Transfer. Academic Press: New York.

14. Incropera FP, DeWitt DP (1996) Introduction to Heat Transfer. 4th Edition, John Wiley & Sons, New York.

15. Kays WM, Crawford ME (1993) Convective Heat and Mass Transfer. McGraw-Hill, New York, 1993.

16. Burmeister LC (2015) Convective Heat Transfer. 2nd Edition, Wiley Inter-science, New York.

17. Bejan A (2004) Convection Heat Transfer. 3rd Edition, Wiley Inc. July, New York.

18. Hathaway BJ, Garde K, Mantell SC, et al. (2018) Design and characterization of an additive manufactured hydraulic oil cooler. Int J Heat Mass Transfer 117: 188-200.    

19. Wong M, Owen I, Sutcliffe CJ (2009) Pressure loss and heat transfer through heat sinks produced by selective laser melting. Heat Transfer Eng 30: 1068-1076.    

20. Wong M, Owen I, Sutcliffe CJ, et al. (2009) Convective heat transfer and pressure losses across novel heat sinks fabricated by selective laser melting. Int J Heat Mass Transfer 52: 281-288.    

21. Unger S, Beyer M, Arlit M, et al. (2019) An experimental investigation on the air-side heat transfer and flow resistance of finned short oval tubes at different tube tilt angles. Int J Therm Sci 140: 225-237.    

22. Arie MA, Shooshtari AH, Ohadi MM (2018) Experimental characterization of an additively manufactured heat exchanger for dry cooling of power plants. Appl Therm Eng 129: 187-198.    

23. Kumar N (2016) Design optimization of heat transfer and fluidic devices by using additive manufacturing. Master of Science Thesis, 2016, Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, the University of Arizona.

24. Dupuis P, Cormier Y, Fenech M, et al. (2016) Flow structure identification and analysis in fin arrays produced by cold spray additive manufacturing. Int J Heat Transfer 93: 301-313.    

25. Cormier Y, Dupuis P, Farjam A, et al. (2014) Additive manufacturing of pyramidal pin fins: height and fin density effects under forced convection. Int J Heat Transfer 75: 235-244.    

26. Kirsch KL, Thole KA (2017) Pressure loss and heat transfer performance for additively and conventionally manufactured pin fin arrays. Int J Heat Mass Transfer 108: 2502-2513.    

27. Kirsch KL, Thole KA (2018) Isolating the effects of surface roughness versus wall shape in numerically optimized, additively manufactured micro cooling channels. Exp Therm Fluid Sci 98: 227-238.    

28. Tseng PH, Tsai KT, Chen AL, et al. (2019) Performance of novel liquid-cooled porous heat sink via 3-D laser additive manufacturing. Int J Heat Mass Transfer 137: 558-564.    

29. Zhang Y, Li PW (2017) Minimum system entropy production as the FOM of high temperature heat transfer fluids for CSP systems. Sol Energy 152: 80-90.    

30. Zhang Y, Li PW, Liu QB (2017) Total entropy production in flow and heat transfer for evaluation of performance of heat transfer devices. TFEC-IWHT2017-17821, Proceedings of the 2nd Thermal and Fluid Engineering Conference, TFEC2017, and 4th International Workshop on Heat Transfer, IWHT2017, April 2-5, 2017, Las Vegas, NV, USA.

31. Bejan A (1995) Entropy generation minimization-The method of thermodynamic optimization of finite-size systems and finite-time processes, 1st Edition, CRC, New York, 1995.

32. Sonntag RE, Borgnakke C, Wylen GJV (2002) Fundamentals of thermodynamics, Six edition, Wiley Inc., New York, 2002.

33. Tao WQ, Numerical heat transfer (in Chinese), 2nd Edition, Xi'an Jiaotong University Publishing House, Xi'an Shaanxi, China.

34. Yang M, Tao WQ (1992) Numerical study of natural convection heat transfer in a cylindrical envelope with internal concentric slotted hollow cylinder. Numer Heat Transfer, Part A. 22: 289-305.    

35. Liu JP, Tao WQ (1996) Numerical analysis of natural convection around a vertical channel in a rectangular enclosure. Heat Mass Transfer 31: 313-321.    

© 2020 the Author(s), licensee AIMS Press. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licese (

Download full text in PDF

Export Citation

Article outline

Show full outline
Copyright © AIMS Press All Rights Reserved