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Estimation of heat losses from process

piping and equipment

An accessible predictive tool calculates surface heat losses from reinery piping
and equipment

AliRezA BAHAdoRi and HARi B VuTHAluRu

Curtin University of Technology

that can be of signiicant impor-

he most important part of the Tuned coeficients used in
energy management strategy equations 3 to 6 tance for engineers.
in any process industry is
energy saving. In this article, an development of a simple
Coeficient Value
attempt has been made to formulate A1 2.18201771352 predictive tool
a predictive tool that is easier to B1 2.65054426648 x 10-1 Equation 1 calculates a coeficient, ,
apply than existing approaches, less C1 -1.895691067097 x 10-2 which is the difference in tempera-
complicated with fewer computa- D1 4.641521705558 x 10-4 ture between a surface and the
A2 6.616737105648 x 10-3
tions, and suitable for reinery B2 -1.119534124965 x 10-3 surrounding air, C:
process engineers, for the rapid C2 9.485846901915 x 10-5
estimation of heat losses in terms of D2 -2.43542487435 x 10-6 T = Ts -Ta (1)
wind velocity and the temperature A3 -1.581032525858 x 10-5
B3 3.699760242622 x 10-6
differences between process piping C3 -3.222348926402 x 10-7 The data required to develop the
and equipment surfaces and the D3 8.774496064317 x 10-9 irst correlation include reliable
surrounding air. A4 2.1240407483723 x 10-8 data3 for various values of wind
The tool developed in this study B4 -5.7213183786357 x 10-9 velocity, and the temperature differ-
C4 5.3052858118086 x 10-10
could be of immense practical value D4 -1.572916658647 x 10-11 ence between the surface and the
for engineers and scientists to make surrounding air. The following
a quick check of heat losses to air in methodology has been applied to
contact with walls or surfaces with- Table 1 develop the predictive tool.1,2
out the need for experimental First, combination convection and
measurement. The results can be tool for an accurate estimation of radiation ilm coeficients for air in
used in follow-up calculations to combination convection and radia- contact with vertical walls or
determine heat losses from process tion ilm coeficients for air in surfaces (hcr) in W/(m.C) are corre-
piping and equipment surfaces contact with vertical walls or lated as a function of the
under various conditions. In partic- surfaces to give the combined heat temperature difference between the
ular, engineers should ind the tool transfer coeficient in terms of surface and the surrounding air
to be user-friendly with transparent the wind velocity and the tempera- values (T) in C for different wind
calculations involving no complex ture difference between the process velocity values (v) in metres per
expressions. piping and equipment surfaces and second. Then, the calculated coefi-
Due to limited energy resources, the surrounding air for heat loss cients for these equations are
and environmental pollution arising calculations from various cases. correlated as a function of wind
from the use of fuels, energy saving In view of this shortfall, our velocity values. The derived equa-
has become mandatory.1 In particu- efforts have been directed at formu- tions are applied to calculate new
lar, industrial and chemical lating a simple-to-use, predictive coeficients for equation 2 to predict
processing plants contain intricate tool that can serve practising engi- combination convection and radia-
and costly piping conigurations. neers and applied researchers. The tion ilm coeficients for air in
Piping systems are also employed principal value of the proposed tool contact with vertical walls or
in many other situations, including lies in its accuracy and simplicity, surfaces. Table 1 shows the tuned
water supply, ire protection and wherein the relevant coeficients coeficients for Equations 3 to 6
district cooling/heating applications.2 can be retuned quickly if more data according to the data.3
Several rigorous studies have are available in the future. The case In brief, the following steps are
been reported in the literature on study presented here demonstrates repeated to tune the coeficients of
the combined effects of convection the usefulness of the proposed tool. Equations 1 and 2:
and surface radiation. However, The present study discusses the Correlate the combination
there is no simple-to-use predictive formulation of a simple correlation convection and radiation ilm coef-

www.eptq.com PTQ Q2 2010 121

surface less the temperature of
surrounding air) up to 280C.
Equation 7 calculates heat losses
from equipment surfaces occur
primarily by radiation and


Q = hcr (Ao) (Ts - Ta) (7)


Figure 1 illustrates the results of a

proposed correlation for predicting
combination convection and radia-
tion ilm coeficients for air in
contact with walls or surfaces in
comparison with some typical data
obtained from the literature.3 Figure
2 demonstrates the performance of
Figure 1 Prediction of combination convection and radiation ilm coeficients for air in a proposed predictive tool for a
contact with vertical walls or surfaces in comparison with some typical data3 wide range of conditions. As can be
seen, the results of the new
icients for air in contact with surfaces, and the temperature proposed correlation are accurate
vertical walls or surfaces as a func- difference between the surface and and acceptable. This graph also
tion of the temperature difference the surrounding air values: demonstrates the performance of
between the surface and the the proposed correlation. A case
surrounding air for a given wind hcr = a + b(T) + c(T)2 + d(T)3 (2) study is given below to demon-
Repeat step 1 for other values of strate the simplicity of the proposed
wind velocity Where: predictive tool for the estimation of
Correlate corresponding polyno- combination convection and radia-
mial coeficients, which are obtained a = A1 + B1v + C1v2 + D1v3 (3) tion ilm coeficients for air in
in the previous steps, against wind b = A2 + B2v + C2v2 + D2v3 (4) contact with vertical walls or
velocity, so that we have: a = f(v), c = A3 + B3v + C3v2 + D3v3 (5) surfaces.
b = f(v), c = f(v), d = f(v) (see d = A4 + B4v + C4v2 + D4v3 (6)
Equations 3 to 6). Case study
Equation 2 presents a new corre- The tuned coeficients used in How much heat can be saved per
lation in which four coeficients are Equations 3 to 6 are given in Table linear metre by covering a 200 mm
used to correlate the combination 1 and help to cover the reported NPS Sch 40 steam header, carrying
convection and radiation ilm coef- data with wind velocity variations 100 kPa (ga) steam at 120C, with a
icients for air in contact with up to 20 m/s and temperature 25 mm thick layer of block insula-
process piping and equipment gradients (the temperature of a tion? Assume ambient conditions
are -1C with a 24 km/h wind. For
the insulated pipe, assume that the
outside surface of the insulation is
at 10C
Coeicient for combined convection and

Wind velocity = 17 m/s

radiation, W/(square meter, C)

Using Equations 2 to 6, the heat
loss from the bare pipe is:

a = 3.2440444304 (from equation 3)

b = 2.64750085877 x 10-3 (from equation 4)
101 c = -2.8669570727 x 10-6 (from equation 5)
Wind velocity = 0 m/s (still air) d = 2.016839208 x 10-9 (from equation 6)
100 101 102 hcr = 33.9874 W/(mC) (from equation 2)
Temperature of surface less temperature of air, C Do = 0.219 m
Tw = 120C
Ta = -1C
L= 1m
Figure 2 Performance of proposed predictive tool for estimation of combination Q = hcr(Ao) (Tw - Ta) = (33.2)(1)() (0.219) (120 -
convection and radiation ilm coeficients for air in contact with vertical walls or surfaces (-1))= 2917 W/(per linear m) (from equation 7)

122 PTQ Q2 2010 www.eptq.com

For the insulated pipe, assume under various conditions. Ta: Surrounding air temperature, C
that the outside surface of the insu- Mechanical and process engineers v: Wind velocity, m/s
lation is at 10 C. Then: should ind the proposed tool to be T: Temperature difference between the
user-friendly, with transparent surface and the surrounding air, C.
a = 3.24404443 (from equation 3) calculations involving no complex
b = 2.647500858 x 10-3 (from equation 4) expressions.
c = -2.86695707 x 10-6 (from equation 5)
d = 2.016839208 x 10-9 (from equation 6) References
hcr = 26.3857 (from equation 2) Acknowledgement 1 Bahadori A, Vuthaluru H B, A simple method
Q = 26.3857(1)() (0.219+2 x 0.025) [10 -(- The lead author acknowledges the Australian for the estimation of thermal insulation
1)]= 245 W/(per linear m) Department of Education, Science and Training thickness, Applied Energy, 87, 2010, 613619.
(from equation 7) for Endeavour International Postgraduate 2 Bahadori A, Vuthaluru H B, A simple
Heat saved = 2917 - 245 = 2672 W/m Research Scholarship (EIPRS), the Ofice of correlation for estimation of economic
Research & Development at Curtin University thickness of thermal insulation for process
of Technology, Perth, Western Australia, for piping and equipment, Applied Thermal
Conclusions providing Curtin University Postgraduate Engineering, 30, 2010, 254259.
An attempt has been made to Research Scholarship and the State Government 3 Gas Processors and Suppliers Association
formulate a novel and simple-to-use of Western Australia for providing top-up Engineering Data book, GPSA, 2004, 12th
predictive tool for the prediction of scholarship through Western Australian Energy edition, Tulsa, OK.
heat loss rate for air in contact with Research Alliance (WA:ERA).
the process piping and equipment
surfaces. This tool gives the Alireza Bahadori is a PhD Researcher in the
Nomenclature School of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering
combined heat transfer coeficient,
A, B, C and D: Coeficients at Curtin University of Technology, Perth,
in terms of the wind velocity and Ao: Outside area, m2 Australia. Email: alireza.bahadori@postgrad.
the temperature difference between Do: outside diameter, m curtin.edu.au
the surface and the surrounding air. hcr: Combined convection and radiation heat Hari B Vuthaluru is an Associate Professor
The results can be used in follow- transfer coeficient, (W/(mC)) in the School of Chemical and Petroleum
up design calculations to determine Q: Heat loss, W/(linear metre) Engineering at Curtin University of Technology,
heat losses from equipment surfaces Ts: Surface temperature, C Perth, Australia.

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