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Heat Loss Calculator for a Stainless Steel Complex Pipe System. By: Thomas Morris & Jacob Hannon. The Problem Background. We work at a Research and Development company that designs various hot fluid systems. Systems are on machines that are subject to wind and cold weather.

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heat loss calculator for a stainless steel complex pipe system

Heat Loss Calculator for a Stainless Steel Complex Pipe System

By: Thomas Morris

& Jacob Hannon

the problem background
The Problem Background

We work at a Research and Development company that designs various hot fluid systems.

Systems are on machines that are subject to wind and cold weather.

The systems have heat exchangers with known temperature inputs, and then long complex arrangements of stainless steel pipe to deliver the hot water.

Each prototype is costly to build and test.

We need a way of estimating the temperature and pressure loss in a system before building a prototype.

objective
Objective

Determine the final temperature and pressure loss.

Determine if the losses are significant if the wind is blowing and for different outside temperatures.

excel spread sheet solution
Excel Spread Sheet Solution

All calculations including property interpolations are self contained

Perform iterations without switching between a property tables calculator

Could easily be adaptable for other fluids than water or other pipe materials.

summary of results pertaining to initial conditions
Summary of results pertaining to initial conditions

Only required one iteration to decrease error

Change in temperature lower than expected

Pressure loss seems appropriate

Internal flow was turbulent

Changing wind speed had little effect

Radiation had a small to negligible effect

conclusions
Conclusions
  • Small temperature change due to these factors
    • Large internal heat transfer coefficient (116449.3 W/m^2*K) is 1047.4 times bigger than the small external heat transfer coefficient (111.179 W/m^2*K)
    • Small diameter pipe (13.7 mm)=small surface area thus the heat rate between the pipe and the air was very small
    • The pipe actually stored most of the energy. During an experiment the pipe changed color validating this result.
  • Changing Wind Speed only changed output temperature a few degrees because the external heat transfer coefficient did not change enough to have significant effect.
  • The Pressure Drop seemed appropriate for the length, diameter, and relative roughness.
  • Experiment was performed using very cold outside temperatures and a high temperature loss was expected. The results do not support this hypothesis and in fact show that on a hot day the losses could be even smaller/negligable.
  • We anticipated the need to insulate the pipe but according to the results this is not necessary.
  • Under 140 mph hurricane winds there was only a 11.8 degree change (Due again to previously stated conlusions)
  • Significantly increasing the length adds surface area and can make a huge difference in the temperature loss. For example with a 105.4 m pipe the delta T was 76.6 degrees.
  • A lot of factors not investigated here can also affect the result (ie mass flow rate, pipe diameter, thickness, etc.) and using this spreadsheet will help determine the optimal configuration for any future fluid system.
appendix
Appendix

Property tables were entered into the spreadsheet from Fundamentals of Heat and Mass Transfer 6th edition by Incropera, Dewitt, Bergmann, and Lavine Copywright 2007 John Wiley and Sons

Equations used also from the same source