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Estimation of thermal properties of randomly packed bed of silicagel particles using IHTP method



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Accurate values of thermophysical transport properties of particle beds are necessary to accurately model heat and mass transfer processes in particle beds that under-go preferred processes and changes. The objective of this study is to use a proven analytical/numerical methodology to estimate the unknown transport properties within test cells filled with silicagel particles and compare the results with the previously published data. An experimental test cell was designed and constructed to carry out transient heat transfer tests for both step change conduction and convection heat transfer within a packed bed of silicagel particles. For a known step change in the test cell temperature boundary condition, the temporal temperature distribution within the bed during heat conduction depends only on the effective heat conduction coefficient and the thermal capacity of the particle bed. The central problem is to, using only the boundary conditions and a few time-varying temperature sensors in the test cell of particles, determine the effective thermal conductivity of the test bed and specify the resulting measurement uncertainty. A similar problem occurs when the heat convection coefficient is sought after a step change in the airflow inlet temperature for the test cell. These types of problems are known as inverse heat transfer problems (IHTP). In this thesis, IHTP method was used to estimate the convective heat transfer coefficient. Good agreement was seen in experimental and numerical temperature profiles, which were modeled by using the estimated convective heat transfer coefficient. The same methodology was used to estimate the effective thermal conductivity of the particle bed. Comparison between the experimental temperature distribution and numerical temperature distribution, which was modeled by using the estimated effective conductivity, illustrated good agreement. On the other side, applying the effective thermal conductivity, obtained from a direct steady state measurement, in the numerical simulation could not present agreement between the numerical and experimental results. It was concluded that the IHTP methodology was a successful approach to find the thermophysical properties of the particle beds, which were hard to measure directly.



Inverse analysis, Silicagel, Convective heat transfer coefficient, Conductive heat transfer coefficient



Master of Science (M.Sc.)


Mechanical Engineering


Mechanical Engineering


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