Simulation of conjugate heat transfer problems using least squares finite element method

Göktolga, Mustafa Uğur
In this thesis study, a least-squares finite element method (LSFEM) based conjugate heat transfer solver was developed. In the mentioned solver, fluid flow and heat transfer computations were performed separately. This means that the calculated velocity values in the flow calculation part were exported to the heat transfer part to be used in the convective part of the energy equation. Incompressible Navier-Stokes equations were used in the flow simulations. In conjugate heat transfer computations, it is required to calculate the heat transfer in both flow field and solid region. In this study, conjugate behavior was accomplished in a fully coupled manner, i.e., energy equation for fluid and solid regions was solved simultaneously and no boundary conditions were defined on the fluid-solid interface. To assure that the developed solver works properly, lid driven cavity flow, backward facing step flow and thermally driven cavity flow problems were simulated in three dimensions and the findings compared well with the available data from the literature. Couette flow and thermally driven cavity flow with conjugate heat transfer in two dimensions were modeled to further validate the solver. Finally, a microchannel conjugate heat transfer problem was simulated. In the flow solution part of the microchannel problem, conservation of mass was not achieved. This problem was expected since the LSFEM has problems related to mass conservation especially in high aspect ratio channels. In order to overcome the mentioned problem, weight of continuity equation was increased by multiplying it with a constant. Weighting worked for the microchannel problem and the mass conservation issue was resolved. Obtained results for microchannel heat transfer problem were in good agreement in general with the previous experimental and numerical works. In the first computations with the solver; quadrilateral and triangular elements for two dimensional problems, hexagonal and tetrahedron elements for three dimensional problems were tried. However, since only the quadrilateral and hexagonal elements gave satisfactory results, they were used in all the above mentioned simulations.