I have the same problem as described in this question:
How to calculate the resulting temperature for a stream of air through a hot tube?, but I want to increase the transferred heat by adding fins onto the inner side of the tube, parallel to the flowing air. Is that useful? If yes, how does the formula mentioned in the answer (https://engineering.stackexchange.com/a/5536/2844) change?
Furthermore, how do I get from the temperature difference to the transferred heat power?

  • $\begingroup$ The mentioned question was about heat transfer in a constant temperature tube (internal flow). Adding fins to the outer surface won't enhance the heat transfer for the inner (contact) surface as long as the temperature is held constant. You should expand your question more and clarify what kind of problem you're having. $\endgroup$
    – Algo
    Nov 2, 2015 at 16:53
  • $\begingroup$ @Algo: No, I wanted to add fins on the inner side of the tube. $\endgroup$
    – arc_lupus
    Nov 2, 2015 at 21:03
  • $\begingroup$ @hazzey No, the correlations (Gnielinski , Dittus-Boelter and Sieder-Tate ) in the mentioned answer are only applicable to regular tubes, adding fins to the inner surface of the tube is a whole another situation. $\endgroup$
    – Algo
    Nov 3, 2015 at 13:23

1 Answer 1


Internally finned tubes are not that common because of the high cost of manufacture. There aren't many sources for this kind of heat transfer.

This paper provides a detailed description of numerical methods used to calculate heat transfer in a finned tube with fully developed laminar flow.

It evaluates fins with the following measurement limits:

Number of Fins:$$8\le M\le32$$ Fin Length (ft):$$0.2\le\ell\le0.9$$ Fin angle:$$1.5°\le\beta\le3°$$

enter image description here

If you do have laminar flow, you can use the following chart to estimate the Nusselt number for a certain fin design:

enter image description here

Use the Nusselt number to calculate the heat transfer coefficient, h:

$$Nu= \frac {hd}{k}$$

Optimally, you would use the hydraulic diameter rather than the nominal tube diameter. This uses a method of determining hydraulic diameter of an internally finned tube using the ratio of cross sectional area of flow to the wetted perimeter. This area would be irritating to calculate for fins and I don't think it would affect the result any more than the other assumptions we have made.

Also of course, use the thermal conductivity, k, value for your fluid.

Lastly use this equation to get your heat transfer:


This paper analyzes T shaped internal fins and gives a good analysis on how fins affect friction factor and a comparison of smooth tube vs finned.


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