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Helical Heat Exchanger CFD Simulation by ANSYS Fluent

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In this project, the heat transfer inside a helical heat exchanger is investigated.

This ANSYS Fluent project includes CFD simulation files and a training movie.

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A heat exchanger is a system used to transfer heat between two or more fluids. Heat exchangers are used in both cooling and heating processes. The fluids may be separated by a solid wall to prevent mixing or they may be in direct contact. They are widely used in space heating, refrigeration, air conditioning, power stations, chemical plants, petrochemical plants, petroleum refineries, natural-gas processing, and sewage treatment. The classic example of a heat exchanger is found in an internal combustion engine in which a circulating fluid known as engine coolant flows through radiator coils and air flows past the coils, which cools the coolant and heats the incoming air. Another example is the heat sink, which is a passive heat exchanger that transfers the heat generated by an electronic or a mechanical device to a fluid medium, often air or a liquid coolant.

Helical Heat Exchanger Project description

In this project, the heat transfer inside a helical heat exchanger is investigated. The helical heat exchanger consists of a number of coils (helical tubes) with a helix curve (similar to a spring) that are embedded in a shell. To increase the heat transfer level, several pipes are placed in a spiral format next to each other and all are connected to one inlet and outlet. Numerous experimental studies have been performed on the flow and heat transfer characteristics inside helical tubes. Energy equation is activated to obtain temperature distribution inside computational domain. standard k-epsilon model is exploited to solve turbulent flow equations. It should be noted that the ideal gas model has been used to determine the density changes in proportion to temperature.

Helical Heat Exchanger Geometry & Mesh

The geometry of this project is designed in CATIA and meshed in GAMBIT. The mesh type used for this geometry is unstructured and the element number is 890710.helical heat exchanger helical heat exchanger

CFD simulation settings

The key assumptions considered in this project are:

  • Simulation uses a pressure-based solver.
  • The present simulation and its results are steady and do not change as a function time.
  • We ignore the effect of gravity.

The applied settings are summarized in the following table.

Viscous model k-epsilon
k-epsilon model standard
near wall treatment standard wall function
Energy on
Boundary conditions
Inlet Velocity inlet
Inlet2 5 m/s
Temperature 340 K
Inlet-2 5m/s
Temperature 300 K
Outlet Pressure outlet
Gauge pressure 0 Pa
Walls Stationary wall
wall Heat flux 0 W/m2
wall.5 Thermal condition coupled
Solution Methods
Pressure-velocity coupling   coupled
Spatial discretization Pressure PRESTO!
Momentum first order upwind
Energy first order upwind
turbulent kinetic energy first order upwind
turbulent dissipation rate first order upwind
Initialization method   Standard
gauge pressure 0 Pa
Velocity (x,y,z) (0,0,0) m/s
temperature 334.3642K
Turbulent kinetic energy 0.09375 m2/s2
Turbulent dissipation rate 78.72302 m2/s3


We obtain and present the contours of velocity, temperature, etc. in both 3D and 2D.

All files, including Geometry, Mesh, Case & Data, are available in Simulation File. By the way, Training File presents how to solve the problem and extract all desired results.


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