Simulation analysis and optimization of radiant heating and cooling panels

Butcher, Quinn
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Borca-Tasciuc, Diana-Andra
Narayanan, Shankar
Borca-Tasciuc, Theodorian
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Mechanical engineering
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This electronic version is a licensed copy owned by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), Troy, NY. Copyright of original work retained by author.
Full Citation
Geothermal heat transfer is an energy efficient source of heating and cooling that can be used year-round. The FROG panel in development by RPI’s MANE Department and CASE is a panel of insulation with embedded pipes that carry water that has been heated or cooled geothermally. To determine the optimal design of this panel to get the best heat transfer when considering the mass flow rate and pressure drop, finite element simulations performed with Simcenter Thermal/Flow (a simulation solver in Siemens NX) are used. These simulations are also validated against existing analytical models to prove their accuracy in heat transfer and fluid simulation. Once validated, simulations were used to find the optimum tube diameter and layout of the embedded pipes based on the heat transfer and pressure drops of the panel. A test experiment was run in the lab to measure temperature and pressure drops to compare with the Simcenter simulation. This physical simulation also demonstrated the accuracy required for good comparisons with the Thermal/Flow simulation. The results from the analytically validated simulations provided useful insights into the design and optimization of the FROG panels, and the models developed are valuable for future large scale simulations of the panel system.
School of Engineering
Dept. of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY
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