Thermal assessment of forced convection through metal foam heat exchangers

A. Tamayol, K. Hooman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Using a thermal resistance approach, forced convection heat transfer through metal foam heat exchangers is studied theoretically. The complex microstructure of metal foams is modeled as a matrix of interconnected solid ligaments forming simple cubic arrays of cylinders. The geometrical parameters are evaluated from existing correlations in the literature with the exception of ligament diameter which is calculated from a compact relationship offered in the present study. The proposed, simple but accurate, thermal resistance model considers: the conduction inside the solid ligaments, the interfacial convection heat transfer, and convection heat transfer to (or from) the solid bounding walls. The present model makes it possible to conduct a parametric study. Based on the generated results, it is observed that the heat transfer rate from the heated plate has a direct relationship with the foam pore per inch (PPI) and solidity. Furthermore, it is noted that increasing the height of the metal foam layer augments the overall heat transfer rate; however, the increment is not linear. Results obtained from the proposed model were successfully compared with experimental data found in the literature for rectangular and tubular metal foam heat exchangers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number111801
JournalJournal of Heat Transfer
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2011


  • forced convection
  • metal foams
  • model development
  • parametric study
  • thermal resistors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering

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