Heat Transfer Laboratories

The heat transfer laboratory is equipped to measure a wide range of  heat transfer phenomena as well as thermally characterise materials and devices as needed.

The laboratories are supported by a rooftop utility heating and cooling system, providing the heated water, cooled water and chilled glycol needed by the experimental facilities as heating and cooling loads.

The heat transfer laboratory’s rooftop utility system.

The system was built in part with the help of our kind industrial sponsors, namely Satchtech (Electrical and Control Installations), Danfoss (Variable Frequency Drives), CIAT (Heat pump and chillers), KSB (pumps), Intramech (Glycol chiller) and Tactical Fluid Industries (Storage vessels).

Single phase heat transfer and pressure drop

A range of facilities have been custom built for the measurement of heat transfer and pressure drops of single-phase systems in the laminar, transition and turbulent regimes.

This allows for study into the fundamentals of single-phase heat transfer as well as the characterisation of heat transfer equipment such as heat exchangers.

Tests can be conducted with water, brines and glycol and can be conducted across a wide range of Reynolds and Prandtl numbers. 

Contact People: Prof. Jaco Dirker ([email protected]), Dr. Marilize Everts ([email protected])

(a) The incline tube facility (b) The twisted tape facility (c) The high-viscosity facility

Phase change heat transfer

Phase change heat transfer is investigated in our labs across a range of industrial equipment setups such as falling film evaporators and condensers, flow boiling in tubes, external boiling on the outside of tubes and microchannel boiling and condensation.

These setups allow for the characterisation of the heat transfer processes of boiling, evaporation and condensation processes through temperature measurement, pressure drop measurement and high-speed video.

These  processes are applicable to a range of industries, such as solar power cycles, vapour compression refrigeration cycles and the nuclear industries.

A range of testing surfaces can be tested, such as internally enhanced tubes, externally enhanced tubes and microchannels, and a range of refrigerants can be tested as well as water for nuclear applications.

Contact People: Prof Jaco Dirker ([email protected]), Dr Bradley Bock ([email protected])

(a) The test chamber of the falling film evaporator facility (b) The flow boiling facility (c) A high-speed video image of the falling film boiling of refrigerant on the outside of a tube

Thermal property measurement

A number of properties crucial in the understanding of heat transfer can be measured within our laboratories, including
Thermal conductivity
Contact angles
Heat exchanger and refrigeration system characterisation
Contact People: Dr Bradley Bock ([email protected])



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