Numerical simulation of complex transport phenomena arising in practical thermal systems

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose - This paper seeks to discuss the numerical modeling of the transport processes that frequently arise in practical thermal systems and involve complexities such as property variations with temperature or with the shear rate in the flow, complicated regions, conjugate mechanisms, chemical reactions and combined mass transfer, and intricate boundary conditions. Design/methodology/approach - The basic approaches that may be adopted in order to study such processes are discussed. Considerations for accurate numerical modeling are also discussed. The link between the process and the resulting product is critical in many systems such as those in manufacturing. The computational difficulties that result from the non-Newtonian behavior of the fluid or from the strong temperature dependence of viscosity are considered in detail. Similarly, complex geometry, free surface flow, moving boundaries, combined mechanisms, and simulation of appropriate boundary conditions are important in several processes and are discussed. Findings - Some of the important techniques to treat the problems that arise in numerical simulation are presented. Common errors that lead to inaccurate or invalid results are outlined. A few practical processes are considered in greater detail to quantify and illustrate these approaches. Validation of the numerical model is a particularly important aspect and is discussed in terms of existing results, as well as development of experimental arrangements to provide inputs for satisfactory validation. Originality/value - Practical thermal processes involve a wide variety of complexities. The paper presents some of the important ones and discusses approaches to deal with them. The paper will be of particular value to the numerical simulation of complicated thermal processes in order to design, control or optimize them to achieve desired thermal processing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)288-307
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Numerical Methods for Heat and Fluid Flow
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics


  • Numerical analysis
  • Simulation
  • Thermal testing


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