Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Engineering Science


Mechanical and Materials Engineering


Prof. Anthony Straatman


This thesis details the process taken for the computational modelling of convective heat transfer in porous media. An in-house porous continuum model is modified to improve the prediction of heat transfer which is obtained when forcing fluid through porous blocks heated from one side. The results are compared to those obtained from CFD simulations performed using commercial software. Results indicated that a modification to conductivity the solid phase of the porous material must be included due to the tortuosity, or the complexity of the solid structure. Previously the tortuosity was not considered when calculating the effective solid phase conductivity.The implementation of this modification resulted in a closer match of the heat transfer predicted by the in-house porous continuum model when compared to results generated by commercial CFD software. Subsequent simulations were performed to show that the tortuosity was purely a geometric function – depending only on the solid phase structure.