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Best Material to conduct thermal heat from water at 50 degrees celsius

  1. May 17, 2014 #1
    I am trying to figure out what kind of material would be best used in order to transport water through a material that would be the same size/shape/diameter of a conventional pipe inside a home running water.

    The idea is that the water running through the pipe would be at a temperature of about 50 degrees Celsius.

    For example, if water was running through a copper tube or pipe, would the copper also be at a temperature of 50 degrees Celsius?

    Water will be coming from a source and will be in a constant flow from the source at anywhere from 50 to 65 degrees Celsius. The Desired material would carry the water from the source and then run towards a series of townhouses where the piping would run through the homes to provide a source of heat for the homes. The piping would then circulate back from the homes to the source where the temperatures inside the source would be at 50 to 65 degrees Celsius.

    Let's say the source is 100 meters away from the homes, and the tubing would be running 100 meters before coming into contact with the desired destination. The desired destination would then ideally have the water running through the tubes after traveling from the source at 55 degrees and upon arrival would be at a temperature of around 20 degrees.

    The tubes would be run underground before getting to the destination and the temperature underground is about 5 degrees Celsius.

    the desired material would be long lasting like concrete is and durable under temperatures ranging from -10 Celsius to 70 Celsius.

    What kind of insulation would you recommend to keep the material from losing heat when running through the homes?

    I also would sincerely appreciate any insight as to how I could go about figuring this out myself.

    My Goal is to have this concept being simple enough to convey it to anybody from a teenager to adult to understand.

    I am not a teacher or professor, and I am not asking this for a homework assignment, I am asking this question so that I can prepare myself for the best possible approach to utilizing a material to conduct thermal heat from water in a way to heat homes.

    Thank you kindly for your time and attention!
  2. jcsd
  3. May 17, 2014 #2


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    Most metals are good conductors of heat; copper is better than most.

    You will notice that copper pipes with cold water will often have condensation on them; this is because the surface is colder than the air. PVC has less of a problem with condensation because it is a much better insulator.

    In your case you are shipping very warm/hot water. Baseboard radiant heating systems often use hot water as the heat source. The optimal solution appears to be cooling fins which provide more surface are to the air; the hot water heats the pipe, the pipe heats the cooling fins, and the cooling fins heat the air.

    See http://parksupplyofamerica.com/gproduct.php?id=FCL-1.25CX1FT&gclid=CKfajLOatL4CFa1cMgodswYANA
    and http://www.healthyheating.com/Radiant_Design_Guide/Infloor_Radiant_Design_Guide.htm#.U3f9tfldVUV
  4. Jan 17, 2016 #3

    You want a separate material for heat exchange pipes and insulating pipes. The pipes inside your heat source, and your heat delivery location should conduct. Passing through unheated space, your pipes should insulate. This implies different materials. Ultimately though economics drives the equation. While copper moves heat very well, hydronic radiant heating systems often rely on PEX plastic tubing with aluminum heat transfer fins at the living space, stainless steel, iron, or copper heat exchangers in the boiler, and foam or fiber insulation on metal or PEX for the pipe runs.
  5. Jan 18, 2016 #4


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    Old thread alert.
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