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Allen Ma

Allen Ma
University of New Hampshire

Major: Mechanical Engineering
Mentor: Dr. Chris White

Designing a Thermally Conductive, Constant-Temperature Wall Plate To Be Used In a Small-Scale Boundary-Layer Wind Tunnel

The proposed work is to design, build, and test a thermally conductive constant temperature wall plate. The wall plate will be used in a small-scale wind tunnel to investigate heat transfer in unsteady flows. The wall plate will be kept at constant temperature by using electrically resistive heaters on the exterior of the wall plate. Thermocouples embedded in the wall plate will be used to monitor wall temperature. A feedback controller will be used to control the rate of the electrical current. Computer aided design (CAD) software will be used for the initial wall plate design, and the design will be further refined by physical testing.

Heat transfer from a heated wall to a fluid layer above the wall is relatively well understood and predictable when the fluid flow is steady. However, when the fluid flow above the wall is unsteady (i.e., varying rapidly both in space and/or time), the physics governing the heat transfer from the wall to the flow is more complex, and predicting the heat transfer from the wall to the fluid is more difficult. The purpose of the proposed study is to better understand the underlying physics governing heat transfer in strong unsteady flow. The goal is to develop engineering models capable of predicting heat transfer from a heated wall to a fluid when the flow is unsteady. There are several applications to the work in both engineering (e.g., piston engines, gas turbines, and heat exchangers) and natural (e.g., weather and climate) flow systems.

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