Hybrid CFD-ANN Scheme for Air Flow and Heat Transfer Across In-Line Flat Tubes Array


Flat tubes are vital components of various technical applications including modern heat exchangers, thermal power plants, and automotive radiators. This paper presents the hybridization of computational fluid dynamic (CFD) and artificial neural network (ANN) approach to predict the thermal-hydraulic characteristics of in-line flat tubes heat exchangers. A 2D steady state and an incompressible laminar flow in a tube configuration are considered for numerical analysis. Finite volume technique and body-fitted coordinate system are used to solve the Navier–Stokes and energy equations. The Reynolds number based on outer hydraulic diameter varies between 10 and 320. Heat transfer coefficient and friction are analyzed for various tube configurations including transverse and longitudinal pitches. The numerical results from CFD analysis are used in the training and testing of the ANN for predicting thermal characteristics and friction factors. The predicted results revealed a satisfactory performance, with the mean relative error ranging from 0.39% to 5.57%, the root-mean-square error ranging from 0.00367 to 0.219, and the correlation coefficient (R2) ranging from 99.505% to 99.947%. Thus, this study verifies the effectiveness of using ANN in predicting the performance of thermal-hydraulic systems in engineering applications such as heat transfer modeling and fluid flow in tube bank heat exchangers.