MEng Aerospace Engineering with Industrial Experience / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Heat Transfer

Course unit fact file
Unit code MECH30432
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? No


Thermal energy exchanges occur throughout the natural environment and engineering systems. The course unit represents the first exposure of the students to Heat Transfer and seeks both to introduce them to the subject, and, as is appropriate for a Level 3 unit, to develop the subject to a relatively advanced level, at least in some areas.
Problem assignments and a hands-on laboratory offer the students the opportunity to explore elements of the subject in slightly greater depth than that covered in lectures.
The course is delivered as 24 hours of lectures, including examples classes, tutorial questions, a coursework assignment, and a laboratory.

This course unit detail provides the framework for delivery in 20/21 and may be subject to change due to any additional Covid-19 impact.  Please see Blackboard / course unit related emails for any further updates


The principal aim of the course unit is to provide students with an understanding of the three modes of single phase heat transfer (conduction, radiation, and convection).
It also aims to provide knowledge of heat exchangers and methods used for their thermal analysis. 
The material has application to the analysis of thermal processes and equipment.


The three single phase modes of heat transfer are treated. 
1. Heat conduction introduces thermal conductivity and Fourier’s Law; it then proceeds to cover one- and two-dimensional conduction in Cartesian coordinates, and also 1-D conduction in cylindrical coordinates. The latter work considers the critical radius of insulation. A link is made to later work on convection via the introduction of the heat transfer coefficient in connection with convective boundary conditions. The electrical-analogue approach is considered where appropriate. Analysis of fin heat transfer is covered in some depth.  Time-dependent heat conduction is presented in the form of the lumped-heat-capacity method and Heisler/Grober charts. Coursework problems are set on this part of the syllabus.
2. Heat convection introduces Newton’s law of cooling and demonstrates how it can be used in the thermal analysis of engineering systems. This is followed by a qualitative discussion of the physical processes involved and use of dimensional analysis to identify the relevant dimensionless groups such as Nusselt. Prandtl, etc. Nusselt number correlations are then presented for forced and natural convection and their use in thermal analysis is presented through a number of examples. The concept of film temperature is also explained.
3. Heat exchanger analysis includes a presentation of the different types of heat exchangers, introduction of the concept of overall heat transfer coefficient, presentation of the log-mean-temperature difference and the effectiveness-NTU methods and their application to the thermal analysis of heat exchangers.  A laboratory exercise explores this part of the syllabus and gives students the opportunity to measure the performance of different types of heat exchangers.
4. Thermal Radiation includes the nature of thermal radiation, the surface fluxes, emission of radiation, absorption and reflection, Kirchoff’s Law, radiant interchange between surfaces, the role of geometry and view factors, and radiant interchange between diffuse, uniform-radiosity surfaces, to include the electrical-analogue approach.

Laboratory:  Heat Exchanger Measurements

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 10%
Written exam 80%
Report 10%

Other - assessed tutorial work

Feedback methods

Exam - via script viewing

Assessed tutorial work - on individual scripts plus generic feedback

Report - given in lab session

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Practical classes & workshops 3
Tutorials 4
Independent study hours
Independent study 73

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Hector Iacovides Unit coordinator

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