The single-blow transient test technique using pulse change inlet condition with optimized pulse width and matching time

  • Hai-Xia Wang
  • Guo-Yan ZhouEmail author
  • Xing Luo
  • Stephan Kabelac
  • Shan-Tung TuEmail author


Compact heat exchanger is a kind of advanced heat transfer equipment with small size and high efficiency. It has wide application prospects in industry. However, due to the highly compact structure, it is difficult to measure the wall temperature of heat transfer surface by traditional test methods. For measuring the thermal performance of compact heat transfer surfaces more accurately, a single-blow transient test technique using pulse change inlet condition with optimized pulse width and matching time is developed. By turning on and off the electric air heater, the pulse change in the inlet temperature can be realized and is fitted as the superposition of a positive and a negative exponential function with a time shift. In order to reduce the effect of the uncertainty of temperature measurement, the optimum pulse width and optimum matching time is obtained by numerical calculations. By means of the newly extended test method, the heat transfer performance of a parallel-plate test core is measured and compared with the results from the literature. The analysis shows that the present pulse change technique considering the optimal pulse width and matching time have to be considered for the heat transfer surfaces with NTU > 4.5 to reduce the uncertainty in temperature measurement. The experimental results are in good agreement with those given in the literature.


\( \overline{a} \)

Dimensionless pulse width


Total heat transfer surface area of test core, m2


Ratio of heat capacity of fluid in test core to that of solid wall


Specific heat capacity of fluid at constant pressure, J/kgK


Specific heat of solid material, J/kgK


Error amplification factor


Colburn j factor


Total length of test core, m

\( {\dot{m}}_{\mathrm{f}} \)

Mass flow rate of fluid, kg/s


Mass of the fluid in the test core, kg


Mass of the solid matrix of the test core, kg


Number of heat transfer units, dimensionless


Reynolds number, the ratio of inertial forces to viscous forces, dimensionless


Fluid temperature, K


Maximum fluid temperature, K


Initial fluid and solid material temperature, K


Solid material temperature, K


Frontal free flow velocity of the air heater, m/s


Length coordinate, m

\( \overline{x} \)

Dimensionless length variable, dimensionless

Greek symbols


Mean heat transfer coefficient, W/m2K


Time constant of exponential inlet temperature change, s

\( \overline{\tau} \)

Dimensionless time

\( {\overline{\tau}}^{\ast } \)

Dimensionless time constant of exponential inlet temperature change


Dimensionless fluid temperature


Dimensionless solid wall temperature









Solid wall



exponential change in inlet


Step change in inlet



The authors are grateful for the financial support from the Higher Education Discipline Innovation Project (111 Project) under the funding code B13020.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Pressure Systems and Safety (MOE), School of Mechanical and Power EngineeringEast China University of Science and TechnologyShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Institute of ThermodynamicsGottfried Wilhelm Leibniz UniversityHannoverGermany

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