Fin spacing interaction in fluidized bed heat exchangers

  • Burhan M.A. Al-Ali

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The work presented in this thesis is concerned with the heat transfer performance of a single horizontal bare tube and a variety of finned tubes immersed in a shallow air fluidized bed.
Results of experimental investigations with the bare tube indicate that the tube position in the bed influences its performance narticularly where fine bed materials are used. In some cases the maximum heat transfer is obtained with the tube in the particle cloud just above the dense phase fluidized bed - a phenomenon that has not been previously observed. This was attributed to the unusual particle circulation in shallow beds. The data is also presented in dimensionless correlations which may be useful for design purposes.
A close approximation to the bare tube data can be obtained by using thetransient heating of a spherical robe and this provides a valuable way of accumulating a lot of data very rapidly.
The experimental data on finned tubes shows that a fin spacing less than twenty times the average particle diameter can cause a significant reduction in heat transfer due to the interaction which takes place between the particles and the surface of the fins. Furthermore, evidence is provided to show that particle shape plays an important part in the interaction with spherical particles being superior to angular particles at low fin spacing/particle diameter ratio.

The finned tube data is less sensitive to tube position in the bed than bare tubes and the best performance is when the tube is positioned at the distributor.A reduction in bed depth decreases the thermal performance of the finned tube but in many practical installations the reduction in pressure drop might more than comnensate for the reduced heat flux.
Information is also provided on the theoretical uerformance of fins and the effect of the root contact area between the fins and the tube was investigated.

Date of Award1976
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorD.E. Elliott (Supervisor)


  • fin spacing interaction
  • fluidized bed
  • heat exchangers

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