Numerical simulation of flow field and heat transfer of streamlined cylinders in cross flow

Zhihua Li, Jane H. Davidson, Susan C. Mantell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The drag and convective heat transfer coefficients along the outer surface of lenticular and elliptical tubes with minor-to-major axis ratios of 0.3, 0.5, and 0.8 were determined numerically for cross-flow Reynolds numbers from 500 to 104. The two-dimensional, unsteady Navier-Stokes equations and energy equation were solved using the finite volume method. Laminar flow was assumed from the front stagnation point up to the point of separation. Turbulent flow in the wake was resolved using the shear stress transport k-ω model. Local heat transfer pressure and friction coefficients as well as the total drag coefficient and average Nusselt number are presented. The results for streamlined tubes are compared to published data for circular and elliptical cylinders. Drag of the elliptical and lenticular cylinders is similar and lower than a circular cylinder. Drag can be reduced by making the streamlined cylinders more slender. Drag is relatively insensitive to Reynolds number over the range studied. An elliptical cylinder with an axis ratio equal to 0.5 reduces pressure drop by 30-40% compared to that of a circular cylinder. The Nusselt numbers of lenticular and elliptical cylinders are comparable. The average Nusselt number of an elliptical or lenticular cylinder with axis ratio of 0.5 and 0.3 is 15-35% lower than that of a circular cylinder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)564-570
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Heat Transfer
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2006


  • Cross flow
  • Cylinder
  • Elliptical
  • Heat transfer
  • Lenticular
  • Pressure drop
  • Subcritical flow


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