Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Heat transfer or fluid dynamics?

  1. May 31, 2006 #1
    Hi all!
    I am currently choosing the topic for my dissertation, and am struggling between heat transfer and fluid dynamics. What would you guys say on these two discisplines? It seems to be that they are quite inter-related, and both of them are quite theoretical and mathematically intensed, which fit my favour...

    What would you say about the future trend about these fields? and which one's prospect might be better? And what kind of frontier researches are undergoing in these fields?

    Your help is much appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 31, 2006 #2
    Hello hanson,

    I agree, you have quite a dilemma in selecting from two very interesting, and related topics. Why not choose a topic that involves BOTH? By that I mean problems and solutions that require modeling both fluid flows and the heat transfers in multi-phasic flows. There are PLENTY of different topics you can find along these lines on the net.

    As for future trends, such a unified approach to these two topics is certainly on the agenda. Some specific areas of research that I would suggest would be investigating how chaos dynamics appear in the interaction between fluid flows and their respective heat fluxes. Modeling induced, feedback-driven effects in flowfields could help us understand how to more effectively control fluid and thermal environments rather than simply having to build vehicles to withstand them passively (I am mostly referring to high-speed plasma flows encountered during atmospheric re-entry). For example, if you can find a way to manipulate the massive energy inherent in stagnation temperatures, you may be able to lower local surface temp maximums. This reduces the weight and cost necessary to build a Thermal Protection System for re-entry, and reducing every pound of necessary, non-payload launch weight increases the payload we can carry to orbit.

    Just some off-the-wall suggestions,
  4. Jun 1, 2006 #3


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    The two fields, heat transfer and fluid mechanics may be related, but not necessarily. A hot solid body in space would simply radiate without involvment of a fluid, while a water or sanitation system has very little or no heat transfer.

    There are many applications for heat transfer, fluid dynamics and the combination (thermal-hydraulics).

    One should select an area and problem that is of interest.

    Hypersonic flows generally involve heat transfer.

    Computational fluid dynamics is a hot field, especially in conjunction with fluid-structure interation.

    Many power systems use fluids for energy/momentum transfer.
  5. Jun 3, 2006 #4


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    In my opinion it is hard to find a purely static heat transfer process, I mean, without any bulk motion of a fluid involved.

    Pure fluid mechanics without any thermal consideration is still a workhorse in industry. Aerodynamics and Hydrodynamics, experimentally, analitically and numerically, have a lot of way to walk yet.
  6. Jun 3, 2006 #5
    Hi Clausius,
    I agree with your sentiments. The latest advanced tool we have been using where I work is CFD++:

    http://www.metacomptech.com/cfd++/cfd++_overview.htm [Broken]

    The ability to model/analyze hypersonic, multiphasic flows and conjugate heat transfer effects together is effective for developing aerodynamic re-entry vehicle shapes.

    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  7. Jun 3, 2006 #6


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Otherwise I wouldn't be involved in the fluid mechanics science business....:rofl:
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook