Next step towards high-fidelity numerical simulations of turbulent heat transfer to liquid metals

Liquid metals are ideal as heat transfer fluid (HTF) due to their high temperature range and high convective heat transfer coefficient. In this project, they are investigated for their use in concentrated solar power plants, which induce complex thermal boundary conditions (the pipe is heated only on one side). The ultimate goal is to derive and validate engineering correlations for the turbulent heat transfer in liquid metals.


Figure: Visualisation of the instantaneous dimensionless temperature field in a pipe that is heated on half its exterior circumference. Main flow direction is pointing to the left.

The project builds on a previous DFG project at ISTM ( The previous work will be extended towards more realistic boundary conditions (i.e. including the heat transfer in the pipe walls) and higher-fidelity modeling of the fluid (i.e. temperature-dependent thermophysical properties and buoyancy), and will also work on reduced order modeling.

Flow configuration:

  • Fully developed pipe flow with conjugate heat transfer

Numerical approach:

  • Thermal DNS (fully resolved temperature field, LES for the velocity field) with conjugate heat transfer