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Department of Mechanical Engineering

College of Engineering, Pune (COEP)


Forerunners in Technical Education
1
Effectiveness of Heat Exchanger: Significance of
NTU method
P. R. Dhamangaonkar
Ref: Fundamentals of Heat Exchanger Design,
By Ramesh K. Shah and Duan P. Sekulic
Department of Mechanical Engineering
College of Engineering, Pune (COEP)
Forerunners in Technical Education
NTU Method
The number of transfer units NTU is defined as a ratio of the
overall thermal conductance to the smaller heat capacity rate.
Department of Mechanical Engineering
College of Engineering, Pune (COEP)
Forerunners in Technical Education
3
NTU designates the non-dimensional heat transfer size or
thermal size of the exchanger, and therefore it is a design
parameter.
NTU provides a compound measure of the heat exchanger size
through the (A *U).
Hence, in general, NTU does not necessarily indicate the physical
size of the exchanger. In contrast, the heat transfer surface area
designates the physical size of a heat exchanger.
A large value of NTU does not necessarily mean that a heat
exchanger is large in physical size.
When comparing heat exchangers for a specific application,
U/C
min
approximately remains constant; and in this case, a higher
NTU value means a heat exchanger larger in physical size.
Hence, NTU is sometimes also referred to as a heat exchanger
size factor.
Department of Mechanical Engineering
College of Engineering, Pune (COEP)
Forerunners in Technical Education
4
How to increase NTU?
Higher NTU is obtained by increasing either U or A or both or
by decreasing C
min.

Whereas a change in C
min
affects NTU directly, a change in C
max

(i.e., its flow rate) affects h on the C
max
side.
A change in the value of R may have direct or indirect effect on
NTU.
The number of transfer units achieved by the heat
exchanger.
---------------------------------------------------------(a)
Department of Mechanical Engineering
College of Engineering, Pune (COEP)
Forerunners in Technical Education
5
NTU is also variously referred to as a performance factor or
thermal length in the plate heat exchanger literature, and as
reduced thermal flux in the shell-and-tube exchanger literature.
With increasing values of NTU, the exchanger effectiveness
generally increases and in the limit, it approaches a
thermodynamic asymptotic value.
Note that the perfect exchanger requires that NTU (because A
) for q
max
= C
min
T
max
.
Automobile radiator: NTU0.5 40 %
Steam plant condenser: NTU1.0 63 %
Regenerator for industrial gas turbine engine: NTU10 90 %
Department of Mechanical Engineering
College of Engineering, Pune (COEP)
Forerunners in Technical Education
6
Interpretation of NTU as non dimensional residence time
R
o
=(1/UA) is the overall thermal resistance;
Is minimumside fluid capacitance and
d
is dwell time,
residence time or transit time of a fluid particle passing through
the exchanger.
Thus, NTU can be interpreted as a non-dimensional residence
time
Department of Mechanical Engineering
College of Engineering, Pune (COEP)
Forerunners in Technical Education
7
Another interpretation of NTU
NTU is related toT
m
NTU is referred to as a temperature ratio (TR), where
NTU=1, WhenTm is equal to T
h
or T
c

number of transfer units required by the heat duty
------------------------------------(b)
Department of Mechanical Engineering
College of Engineering, Pune (COEP)
Forerunners in Technical Education
8
NTU is also directly related to the overall (total) Stanton number
St
o
Replacing U in place of h
NTU can also be interpreted as a modified Stanton number.
p is the porosity, a ratio of
void volume to total
volume of concern.
First definition of Dh is for constant cross-sectional flow passages
and second definition is applicable to expanding/contracting flow
area across flow cross sections along the flow length.
Department of Mechanical Engineering
College of Engineering, Pune (COEP)
Forerunners in Technical Education
9
Equations (b) and (a) may also be interpreted as the number of
transfer units required by the heat duty (NTU=T
max,i
/T
m
)
and the number of transfer units achieved by the heat exchanger
(NTU=UA/C
min
), respectively.
These definitions and interpretations are for the overall NTU for
the exchanger.
The NTU individually on the hot and cold sides of exchanger are:
The overall thermal resistance equation, in the absence of fouling
resistances,

o
extended surface efficiency
Department of Mechanical Engineering
College of Engineering, Pune (COEP)
Forerunners in Technical Education
10
Effectivenessnumber of Transfer Unit Relationships
is a function of NTU, R, and flow arrangement.
Counter flow exchanger as a
function of NTU and R.
1.The heat exchanger effectiveness
increases monotonically with
increasing values of NTU for a
specified R.
2.The exchanger effectiveness
increases with decreasing values of
R for a specified NTU.
3. For 40%, the heat capacity
rate ratio R does not have a
significant influence on the
exchanger effectiveness".
Department of Mechanical Engineering
College of Engineering, Pune (COEP)
Forerunners in Technical Education
11
4.Heat exchanger effectiveness increases with increasing NTU as
noted above in item 1, but at a diminishing rate.
5.Because of the asymptotic nature of the -NTU curves, a
significant increase in NTU and hence in the exchanger size is
required for a small increase in at high values of .
6. Alternatively, a larger increase in NTU (or the size of the
exchanger) is required to compensate for the same (or small)
amount of heat loss to the surroundings at high values of in
comparison to that for a lower exchanger.
The counter-flow exchanger has the highest exchanger effectiveness for
specified NTU and R of that for all other exchanger flow arrangements.
Alternatively, the heat transfer surface area is utilized most efficiently
for counter-flow compared to all other flow arrangements.
It should be emphasized that many industrial heat exchangers
are not counter-flow