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Applied Thermal Engineering 23 (2003) 243–249

www.elsevier.com/locate/apthermeng

Short Communication
A new approach for the prediction of the heat transfer rate
of the wire-on-tube type heat exchanger––use of an
artificial neural network model
Yasar Islamoglu *

Mechanical Engineering Department, Sakarya University, 54187 Esentepe Campus, Adapazar, Turkey
Received 6 June 2002; accepted 3 September 2002

Abstract
This study presents an application of artificial neural networks (ANNs) to predict the heat transfer rate
of the wire-on-tube type heat exchanger. A back propagation algorithm, the most common learning
method for ANNs, is used in the training and testing of the network. To solve this algorithm, a computer
program was developed by using C++ programming language. The consistence between experimental and
ANNs approach results was achieved by a mean absolute relative error <3%. It is suggested that the ANNs
model is an easy modeling tool for heat engineers to obtain a quick preliminary assessment of heat transfer
rate in response to the engineering modifications to the exchanger.
 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Artificial neural network (ANN); Heat transfer rate; Heat exchanger

1. Introduction

Artificial neural networks (ANNs) have been used in many engineering applications because of
providing better and more reasonable solutions [1]. Some examples are: Diaz et al. [2] for sim-
ulating heat exchanger performance, Parcheco-Vega et al. [3] for modeling the heat transfer
phenomena in fin-tube refrigerating heat exchanger systems, and Bechtler et al. [4], to model the
steady-state performance of a vapor–compression liquid heat pump, an ANN algorithm was used.
It is concluded from the literature review mentioned above that ANNs is better to serve thermal
analysis in engineering applications. For this reason, this study was focused on the applicability of
ANNs method for the heat transfer analysis on wire-on-tube type heat exchanger, widely used as

*
Tel.: +90-264-346-0353; fax: +90-264-346-0351.

1359-4311/02/$ - see front matter  2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
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244 Y. Islamoglu / Applied Thermal Engineering 23 (2003) 243–249

Nomenclature

A heat transfer surface area (m2 )


D diameter (m)
G volumetric flow rate (m3 /s)
L length (m)
m_ mass flow rate (kg/h)
q heat transfer rate (W)
S spacing (m2 )
T temperature (C)
W width (m)
Subscripts
a air
cond condensation
i inlet
r refrigerant
T sum of tube and wire
t tube
w wire

condenser in small refrigerant systems. This is achieved by using the limited experimental data
evaluated by Lee et al. [5] from the tests of the single layer of wire-on-tube type heat exchanger.
Then the capability of neural network technique in modeling the heat transfer phenomena in these
systems is evaluated.

2. Experimental data and prediction of the heat transfer rate

The exchanger, tested by Lee et al. [5], is presented in Fig. 1. As far as, air flow in wire-on-tube
type heat exchanger is concerned, it can be classified into the following three categories based on
how each part contacts air flow:

• All cross (AC): the air passes through both the tubes and the wires.
• Wire cross (WC): the air passes through the wires, whereas it passes along the tubes.
• Tube cross (TC): the air passes trough the tubes, whereas it passes along the wires.

The experiments were conducted for single layer samples of wire-on-tube type heat exchanger.
Test conditions and results are given in Table 1.
ANNs technology inspired by biological nervous systems is being used to solve a wide variety
of complex scientific, engineering, and business problems. A neural network consists of a large
number of simple processing elements called neurons or nodes. Each neuron is connected to other
Y. Islamoglu / Applied Thermal Engineering 23 (2003) 243–249 245

Fig. 1. The single layer of wire-on-tube sample.

neurons by means of direct communication links with associated weights. The weights represent
information being used by the network to solve a problem [6].
Among the various types of ANNs that exit, the feed forward neural network has become the
most popular in engineering applications [3], and it is the network used in this study. The network
is somewhat simple in structure and easily analysed mathematically. The back-propagation net-
work is the first and most commonly used feed forward neural network because there exists a
mathematically strict learning scheme to train the network and guarantee mapping between inputs
and outputs. A typical feed forward architecture is schematically illustrated in Fig. 2. This con-
figuration has one input layer, one hidden layer and one output layer. During the feed forward
stage, a set of input data is supplied to the input nodes and the information is transferred forward
through the network to the nodes in the output layer. The nodes perform nonlinear input-output
transformations by means of sigmoid activation function. The mathematical background, the
procedures for training and testing the ANNs, and an account of its history can be found in the
text by Haykin [7]. To train and test the neural networks, input data patterns and corresponding
targets were required. In developing a ANNs model, the available data set is divided into two sets,
one to be used for training of the network (70–80% of the data), and the rest for testing the
performance [8]. The training process is carried out by comparing the output from the network to
the given data. The weights and biases are changed in order to minimize the error between the
output values and the data. The scheme used in this study is the back propagation algorithm. The
246
Table 1
Test conditions and results [5] prepared for ANNs model
Test no Flow AT At Aw Dt Dw Lt a Lw Ga m_ r Tai Tri Trcond q

Y. Islamoglu / Applied Thermal Engineering 23 (2003) 243–249


direction (m2 ) (m2 ) (m2 ) (m) (m) (m) (m) (m3 /min) (kg/h) (C) (C) (C) (W)
1, TR AC 0.32 0.16 0.16 4.76 1.53 10.9 158 1.901 3.96 29.4 63.1 36.8 88.6
2, TR AC 0.32 0.16 0.16 4.76 1.53 10.9 158 1.553 3.99 29.5 63.4 36.8 76.0
3, TS AC 0.32 0.16 0.16 4.76 1.53 10.9 158 1.210 3.97 29.6 63.4 36.8 64.4
4, TR AC 0.32 0.16 0.16 4.76 1.53 10.9 158 0.924 3.99 29.6 63.5 36.7 52.1
5, TR TC 0.32 0.16 0.16 4.76 1.53 10.9 158 1.920 3.98 29.4 64.8 36.7 79.9
6, TS TC 0.32 0.16 0.16 4.76 1.53 10.9 158 1.692 3.94 29.5 64.7 36.8 76.7
7, TR TC 0.32 0.16 0.16 4.76 1.53 10.9 158 1.408 3.97 29.7 64.6 36.8 70.0
8, TR TC 0.32 0.16 0.16 4.76 1.53 10.9 158 0.924 3.95 29.7 64.7 36.8 55.0
9, TR WC 0.32 0.16 0.16 4.76 1.53 10.9 158 1.939 3.99 29.7 63.2 36.8 77.9
10, TS WC 0.32 0.16 0.16 4.76 1.53 10.9 158 1.551 3.95 29.4 63.1 36.7 66.9
11, TR WC 0.32 0.16 0.16 4.76 1.53 10.9 158 1.212 3.99 29.8 63.1 36.8 58.9
12, TR WC 0.32 0.16 0.16 4.76 1.53 10.9 158 0.897 4.03 29.7 63.3 36.8 50.6
13, TR AC 0.30 0.10 0.20 4.76 1.53 06.8 142 1.920 3.93 29.6 63.9 36.8 87.4
14, TR AC 0.30 0.10 0.20 4.76 1.53 06.8 142 1.510 3.96 29.8 63.9 36.8 74.7
15, TS AC 0.30 0.10 0.20 4.76 1.53 06.8 142 1.250 3.99 29.6 64.0 36.7 69.1
16, TR AC 0.30 0.10 0.20 4.76 1.53 06.8 142 0.790 3.89 29.7 63.9 36.8 52.0
17, TR AC 0.39 0.13 0.26 4.76 1.53 08.8 142 1.910 4.04 29.6 65.9 36.8 95.9
18, TS AC 0.39 0.13 0.26 4.76 1.53 08.8 142 1.207 4.00 29.7 65.9 36.8 70.9
19, TR AC 0.39 0.13 0.26 4.76 1.53 08.8 142 0.907 4.01 29.8 66.1 36.8 61.3
TR is the training data set and TS is the testing data set selected for training and testing the ANN model, respectively.
a
Lt means total length of tube.
Y. Islamoglu / Applied Thermal Engineering 23 (2003) 243–249 247

Fig. 2. Configuration on a 12-5-1 neural networks for heat transfer analysis in wire-on-tube type heat exchanger.

configuration of the ANNs are set by selecting the number of hidden layer and the number of
nodes in hidden layer, since the number nodes in the input and output layers are determined from
physical variables.
The primary advantages of neural network methodology over conventional regression analysis
is that neural networks are:

• free of linear assumptions,


• have large degree of freedom, and
• more effectively deal with nonlinear functional forms [9].

To decide the structure of neural network, show the capability of the ANNs, and predict the heat
rate with limited data sets, the rate of error convergence is checked by changing the number of
hidden layer and also by adjusting the learning rate and momentum rate. Once training is
completed, predictions from a new set of data may be done using the already trained network. The
12-5-1 ANNs trained is shown in Fig. 2. Twelve input nodes correspond to the independent
variables: AT , At , Aw , Dt , Dw , Lt , Lw , Ga , m_ r , Tai , Tri , Trcond , the output node correspond to the heat
transfer rate q. The solution is evaluated by a computer program developed with C++.

3. Results

Heat transfer rate evaluated using the developed ANNs model, has a 12-5-1 configuration, 0.6
learning rate and momentum coefficient was in agreement (<3%, mean absolute relative error)
248 Y. Islamoglu / Applied Thermal Engineering 23 (2003) 243–249

Fig. 3. Heat transfer rate from training result evaluated experimentally and using ANNs model.

Table 2
Heat transfer rate from testing result evaluated experimenyally and using ANNs model
Test no-flow direction q (kcal/h) (experimental results) q (kcal/h) (ANN model results) % RE (relative error)
3-AC 64.40 61.88 3.91
6-TC 76.70 76.71 0.02
10-WC 66.90 71.97 7.59
15-AC 69.10 68.74 0.53
18-AC 70.90 76.53 7.94
Mean relative error ðMREÞ ¼ 4%.

with those evaluated using experimental technique. Fig. 3 and Table 2 show the training and
testing results of the developed model, respectively. For the best ANN configuration prepared in
this study, the maximum relative errors were approximately 5.56% (in training) and 7.94% (in
testing––Table 2), and the mean relative errors (MRE) were 1.30% and 4%), respectively. It can be
observed that the error values are in the range of 0–8%.

4. Conclusion

In the present study, the ANNs approach is applied to predict heat transfer rate in wire-on-tube
type heat exchanger that has probably been the most widely used condenser in small refrigerant
systems. The results pointed out that ANNs approach is suitable for use in the estimation of heat
transfer rate. Also, ANNs can be trained to simulate similar systems for the thermal analysis.

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