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TTA – Thermal Transient Anemometer. Anemos : Greek for wind Anemometer : to measure the wind Thermal Transient : A heated sensor will lose energy to the passing wind. The higher the speed, the faster the loss and the shorter the “time constant ( )” of the temperature decrease.

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tta thermal transient anemometer
TTA – Thermal Transient Anemometer

Anemos: Greek for wind

Anemometer: to measure the wind

Thermal Transient: A heated sensor will lose energy to the passing wind. The higher the speed, the faster the loss and the shorter the “time constant ()” of the temperature decrease.

Ergo: utilize  as the anemometer’s output.

tta thermal transient anemometer1
TTA – Thermal Transient Anemometer

Developed for underhood cooling circuit diagnostic evaluations:

  • velocity and temperature distributions averaged over segments of the in-line heat exchanger

Developed under the sponsorship of

DiamlerChrysler Challenge Fund (originally with Mr. Clem Mesa, continued with Mr. Michael Zabat)

Patent Pending – MSU

Commercialized by DFTI – Digital Flow Technologies, Inc.

automotive applications
Automotive Applications

Underhood cooling circuit

HVAC ducts – flow rate distributions and thermal energy loss upstream of the register

underhood cooling
Underhood Cooling

Obvious objectives: transfer the thermal energy from the liquid media to the passing wind.

Obvious statement of success:

underhood cooling cont
Underhood Cooling (cont.)

Obvious Problem: it is not feasible to construct a measurement scheme to obtain the infinite number of data points to evaluate the exit integral – assuming Tinlet=Tamb such that

TTA Strategy: obtain approximations to the spatial integral for area segments whose sum is the complete area of interest.

Diagnostic strategy: make the segments small enough that problem areas (e.g., downwind from crash members) are apparent.

component elements of the tta
Control electronicsComponent Elements of the TTA
  • A frame with 8 cells to fit a heat exchanger
  • A frame with 16 cells to fit the subject heat exchanger

(The control electronics schematic is provided in the TTA portion of

See the MST article.)

custom frames
Custom Frames

A representative frame, mounted for calibration in the TSFL 22 (6161cm2) wind tunnel.

A 20-cell frame:

Frame Perimeter

Tungsten Wires

Pitot Probe

sensor wires
Sensor Wires

Typical Tungsten wire diameter = 5-8mil (0.127 to 0.203 mm)

Sensor wires are robust a la wind loads, dust, etc. impact.

  • Hairs and grit will change the heat transfer coefficients but these can be cleaned off.
  • Plastic deformation will nullify the basic calibration.
three stage functioning of the control electronics per cell
Three Stage Functioning of the Control Electronics (per cell)

1) Obtain Tamb from R(Tamb)=R(T0)[1+(TambT0)]

2) Introduce heating current (I) such that:


  • where Tmax≲oxidation temperature

3) Cease heating current

  • utilize measurement current (ca 10ma) to record R(t) during the temperature “decay” to Tamb
morris and foss 2003 transient hwa
Morris and Foss (2003) –Transient…HWA

For h ≈ constant, T(t) for heat transfer dominated by the forced convection term is exponential since



Rn = Rn(T0)[1+(TnT0)]




calibration process
Calibration Process

Fit R(t) data to:

Utilize calibration data to determine spatially averaged velocity for the cell as:

(Note, this form of the TTA transfer function is motivated by that for a constant temperature anemometer. It is supported by the observed agreement with experimental data.)

determination of the temperature coefficient of resistance
Determination of the Temperature Coefficient of Resistance ()

 Can be influenced by the alloys in the Tungsten, by the annealing processes, by witchcraft.

Hence, a hot-box has been constructed to determine  for each cell of a completed frame.

data for the determination of
Data for the determination of 

Symbols show R(T) for different cells.

( = [slope]-1)

compensation for v if t amb test t amb cal
Compensation for =(V) if Tamb(test)≠Tamb(cal)

Conflicting information from basic heat transfer sources.

Fabrication and use of a test facility to directly evaluate the effect of Tamb(test)≠Tamb(cal).

Ford Haus HeaterFord Haus: A sub-atmospheric flow facility that allows the operator and test chamber to be on the upwind side of the external prime mover.

View from entry door into the 2.6m x 1.83m “Haus”.

Insulation is visible through the clear plastic side wall of the plenum chamber.

ford haus heater temperature sensors
Ford Haus Heater – Temperature Sensors

Solid State Temp. Sensors.

Pitot probe with adjacent Therms. Couple for velocity measure-ments.

5 lengths of 0.005” (0.127 mm) tungsten wire

thermal profile at level of sensor wire
Thermal Profile at level of sensor wire

5.66 m/s

1.49 m/s

← Location of Sensor Wire →

basic data from 3 calibrations
Basic Data from 3 Calibrations

Tamb’ = 22°C V = 1.5 – 6.5 m/s

Tamb’’ = 72°C V = 1.5 – 6.0 m/s

Tamb’’’ = 103°C V = 1.5 – 6.0 m/s


calibration data
Calibration Data

It is inferred that the jump discontinuity for the 22°C=Tamb values represents the transition to vortex shedding. Future measurements for 72°C and 103°C=Tamb cases will test the hypothesis with higher velocity values.

compensation for elevated t amb
Compensation for Elevated Tamb

The “A” terms, which represent free convection and heat loss by conduction, have been divided by their respective (Thot-Tamb) values. The averae of the three ratios was 0.0062. The three “low Re” data sets were brought to a common ordinate-intercept as A=0.0062 ΔT(°C). The three calibrations could then be made to agree by scaling the B’ terms with respect to ΔT.


1.) Step change in heat transfer, not previously seen with the TTA, is present with larger diameter sensor wires.

2.) Installed (in a frame) evaluation of  is required for accurate Tambient measurements.

3.) Elevated (cf velocity calibration) temperature effects for a test condition must be addressed. (This presentation is advanced cf the associated SAE paper (#05VTMS-103). Further work is in progress.)