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Spiral Heat Exchanger CFD Simulation

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The spiral heat exchanger consists of two flat plates that are coiled together, forming two fluid passage channels parallel to each other.

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

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Project Description

The present problem is concerned with the simulation of a spiral heat exchanger. In this spiral path, two paths for cold water and hot water are used, so that the temperature difference between the two water flows causes heat transfer. The hot flow enters the central part of the heat exchanger and exits the heat exchanger environment (laterally) in a perpendicular direction to the inlet area, while the cold current has the opposite direction of the hot stream and enters the heat exchanger environment (laterally) and exits from the central part of the heat exchanger in a direction perpendicular to the input path. The coil plates are embedded between two hot and cold flow paths made of steel with a thickness of 0.01 m. The exterior wall of the model is also made of steel.


There are several assumptions used for the present simulation:

The simulation is Steady-State and the solver is Pressure-Based. Also, the effect of the Earth’s gravity on the model is considered equal to 9.81 kg.s-1.

Geometry & Mesh (Spiral Heat Exchanger)

The 3-D geometry of the present model (spiral heat exchanger) is designed by the Design Modeler software. The geometry of the present model consists of a cylinder with a separating plate inside the cylinder, which creates two separate spaces for hot and cold fluid flow. Similarly, for each of the two spaces created, an inlet and an outlet cross-section determine the route of the inlet and outlet flow, and their structure is such that the inlet and outlet flow paths are perpendicular to each other. The meshing of the present model is done by ICEM software. The mesh was unstructured and the element number was 450631.

Spiral Heat Exchanger CFD Simulation

Summaries of the problem definition and problem-solving steps are presented in the table:

k-epsilon Viscous model
RNG k-epsilon model
standard wall functions near-wall treatment
on Energy
Boundary conditions (Spiral Heat Exchanger)
Mass flow inlet Inlet type
2 kg.s-1 mass flow rate cold water
289 K temperature
3 kg.s-1 mass flow rate hot water
313 K temperature
Pressure outlet Outlet type (Spiral Heat Exchanger)
0 Pa gauge pressure cold water
0 Pa gauge pressure hot water
wall Walls type
insulated outer walls
coupled middle wall
Solution Methods (Spiral Heat Exchanger)
Coupled   Pressure-velocity coupling
second-order upwind pressure Spatial discretization (Spiral Heat Exchanger)
first-order upwind momentum
first-order upwind energy
first-order upwind turbulent kinetic energy
first-order upwind turbulent dissipation energy
Initialization (Spiral Heat Exchanger)
Standard Initialization method
313 K temperature


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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