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# Transient Conduction:

## The Lumped Capacitance Method

Transient Conduction

A heat transfer process for which the temperature varies with time, as well
as location within a solid.
It is initiated whenever a system experiences a change in operating conditions
and proceeds until a new steady state (thermal equilibrium) is achieved.
It can be induced by changes in:
surface convection conditions ( ), h,T

Solution Techniques
The Lumped Capacitance Method
Exact Solutions
The Finite-Difference Method
r sur
h ,T
a surface temperature or heat flux, and/or
internal energy generation.
Transient Conduction
Many heat transfer problems are time dependent
Changes in operating conditions in a system cause temperature
variation with time, as well as location within a solid, until a new steady
state (thermal equilibrium) is obtained.

We will focus on the Lumped Capacitance Method, which can be used
for solids within which temperature gradients are negligible

SMALL SOLID SHOT
ROASTED GRILLED BEEF

i
T x T = ) 0 , (
x
Lumped Capacitance Method
Consider a hot metal that is initially at a uniform temperature, T
i
, and
at t=0 is quenched by immersion in a cool liquid, of lower temperature
The temperature of the solid will decrease for time t>0, due to
convection heat transfer at the solid-liquid interface, until it reaches

T
T

T
Lumped Capacitance Method
If the thermal conductivity of the solid is very high, resistance to
conduction within the solid will be small compared to resistance to
heat transfer between solid and surroundings.
Temperature gradients within the solid will be negligible, i.e. the
temperature of the solid is spatially uniform at any instant.
i
T x T = ) 0 , (
x
T
Lumped Capacitance Method
Starting from an overall energy balance on the solid:
dt
dT
Vc T T hA
s
=

) (
where
= u T T
The time required for the solid to reach a temperature T is:
u
u
=
i
s
hA
Vc
t ln
The temperature of the solid at a specified time t is:
(

|
|
.
|

\
|

=
u
u

t
Vc
hA
T T
T T
s
i i
exp
(1)
(2)
The total energy transfer, Q, occurring up to some time t is:
( ) ( ) | |
t i
t t
S
t Vc dt hA dt q Q t u = u = =
} }
/ exp 1
0 0
(3)
st out
E E

=

= u T T
i i
(4)
Also, note that
st
E Q A =
{Ht into body during dt]=[increase in energy during dt
Transient Temperature Response
Based on eq. (2), the temperature difference between solid and fluid
decays exponentially.
Lets define a thermal time
constant
t t
s
t
C R Vc
hA
=
|
|
.
|

\
|
= t ) (
1
R
t
is the resistance to
convection heat transfer,
C
t
is the lumped thermal
capacitance of the solid
Increase in R
t
or C
t
causes
solid to respond more slowly
and more time will be required
to reach thermal equilibrium.
Validity of Lumped Capacitance Method
Need a suitable criterion to determine validity of method. Must relate
relative magnitudes of temperature drop in the solid to the temperature
difference between surface and fluid.
Bi
k
hL
R
R
hA
kA L
T
T
conv
cond
liquid solid
solid
= = =
A
A
) / 1 (
) / (
) convection to due ( /
) conduction to due (
? What should be the relative magnitude of AT
solid

versus AT
solid/liquid
for the lumped capacitance
method to be valid?
>
(Can also be obtained from surface energy balance.)

This is a dimensionless parameter termed as the
Biot Number.
Biot and Fourier Numbers
The lumped capacitance method is valid when
1 . 0 < =
k
hL
Bi
c where the characteristic length:
L
c
=V/A
s
=Volume of solid/surface area

We can define a dimensionless time, the Fourier Number, Fo :
2
c
L
t
Fo
o
=
Eq. (2) becomes:
| | Fo Bi
T T
T T
i i
=

=
u
u

exp
(5)
The characteristic length is r
o
/2 and r
o
/3 for cylinder & sphere, respectively.
Now, the exponent of Eq. (2) may be expressed as
2 2
c
c
c
c
c
s
L
t
k
hL
L
t
c
k
k
hL
cL
ht
Vc
t hA o
=

## Validity of Lumped Capacitance Method

Surface energy balance:
T
s,1
T
s,2
T

q
cond
q
conv
) ( ) (
, , .
=
=
T T hA T T
L
kA
q q
s s s
conv cond
2 2 1
Validity of Lumped Capacitance Method
Bi
k
hL
R
R
hA
kA L
T
T
T T
T T
conv
cond
liquid solid
solid
s
s s
= = =
A
A
=

) / (
) / (
) convection to due ( /
) conduction to due (
,
, ,
1
2
2 1
For Bi<<1, AT in the solid is small: The resistance to conduction within
the solid is much less than the resistance to convection across the
fluid/solid boundary layer.
? What is the relative magnitude of AT solid versus AT solid/liquid for the
lumped capacitance method to be valid?
The Biot Number and Validity of
The Lumped Capacitance Method
The Biot Number: The first of many dimensionless parameters to be
considered.
Definition:
c
hL
Bi
k

thermal conductivity of t so e d h li k
of the solid ( / or coordinate
associated with maximum spati
characteri
al temp
stic
erature differenc
n
e)
le gth
c s
L A
Physical Interpretation:
/
/
1/ h
c s cond solid
s conv solid fluid
L kA R T
Bi
A R T
A
=
A
Criterion for Applicability of Lumped Capacitance Method:
1 Bi <<
General Lumped Capacitance Analysis
In the general case we may have
generation and an applied heat flux. The
energy balance becomes:
st gen
E E

,
T
sur
T

, h
q

s
q

q

conv
dt
dT
Vc A q q E A q
r c s rad conv g h s s
= + +
) , (
" "
,
"
) (

A
s,h
A
s(c,r)
Numerical solutions are generally required
Simplified solutions exist for no imposed
heat flux or generation .
Other transient problems
When the lumped capacitance analysis is not valid, we must solve the
partial differential equations analytically or numerically

Exact and approximate solutions may be used

Tabulated values of coefficients used in the solutions of these
equations are available

Transient temperature distributions for commonly encountered
problems involving semi-infinite solids can be found in the literature
Summary
The lumped capacitance analysis can be used when the temperature
of the solid is spatially uniform at any instant during a transient
process
Temperature gradients within the solid are negligible
Resistance to conduction within the solid is small compared to the
resistance to heat transfer between the solid and the surroundings
The Biot number must be less than one for the lumped capacitance
analysis to be valid.
Transient conduction problems are characterized by the Biot
numbers.