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Syllabus for

Academic year
MTF113 - Heat transfer
Syllabus adopted 2008-02-20 by Head of Programme (or corresponding)
Owner: TKMAS
7,5 Credits
Grading: TH - Five, Four, Three, Not passed
Education cycle: First-cycle
Department: 42 - APPLIED MECHANICS

Teaching language: English

Course module   Credit distribution   Examination dates
Sp1 Sp2 Sp3 Sp4 No Sp
0106 Examination 7,5 c Grading: TH   7,5 c   10 Mar 2009 am H,  Contact examiner,  Contact examiner

In programs



Professor  Håkan Nilsson


MTF111   Heat transfer

Course evaluation:


For single subject courses within Chalmers programmes the same eligibility requirements apply, as to the programme(s) that the course is part of.

Course specific prerequisites

A course in fluid mechanics similar to MTF052, Fluid Mechanics.


The course will give a general knowledge and physical understanding of heat transfer. The theory of heat transfer is presented at the lectures, and is used in the exercises to solve general problems in heat transfer. The physical understanding of heat transfer is improved through project works using the commersial CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) code Fluent ( At the same time the participants gain practice and skills in how to apply the theory in a general way. The participants will develop skills in project work, oral and written presentations, and the use of a commersial CFD code.

Learning outcomes (after completion of the course the student should be able to)

  • Physically describe how heat transfer by conduction, convection and
    radiation takes place in 1D, 2D and 3D, and to give a qualitative
    description of temperature (and velocity) distributions for general cases.
  • Use energy conservation to couple heat transfer by conduction,
    convection and radiation.
  • Derive equations for heat transfer by conduction, convection and
  • Discretize the equations for problem solving by hand, and understand
    the foundations of the numerical tools that solve general heat transfer
    problems (Fluent).
  • Specify initial and boundary conditions and solve the equations by
    hand, and with the help of Fluent, and compare the results from the different
    solution methods.
  • Derive simplified equations for boundary layers, and understand how
    the boundary layers affect the heat transfer and near-wall fluid friction.
  • Understand how turbulence affects the convective heat transfer.
  • Know what dimensionless numbers are relevant for different kinds of
    heat transfer, and understand their physical interpretations.
  • Understand what the dimensionless equations say about how heat
    transfer occurs and, specifically, relate the energy equation
    (temperature) to those for momentum (velocity).
  • Realize that convection problems is all about finding the distribution
    of the convection coefficient (or the Nusselt number), and know which
    different methods that can be used to find this distribution.
  • Derive simplified relations for heat transfer by conduction,
    convection and radiation.
  • Solve engineering problems using the simplified relations, and
    understand the underlying physics and the assumptions made.
  • Come up with engineering ideas on how to improve heat transfer
    characteristics, and verify them.
  • Use the fundamental knowledge when doing engineering studies of
    complicated applications, such as heat exchangers.
  • Understand and simplify real problems so that they can be solved using
    engineering or numerical methods.
  • Use basic functionality in the Gambit and Fluent tools, and understand
    the basics on how to get good results from them.
  • Find and use correlations and tables for heat transfer.
  • Do project work.
  • Write a good project report.
  • Give a good oral project presentation.


The course comprises heat transfer through conduction, convection and radiation. Heat transfer in heat exchangers is part of the course as an example of an important industrial application. Energy conservation is also a central issue, both when using engineering methods and when deriving the governing equations. Energy conservation is the 'tool' that is used to couple different heat transfer modes, or heat transfer in different spatial regions.

The heat conduction part of the course comprises one- and two-dimensional steady and transient heat conduction. We study both simple cases where analytical solutions may quite easily be derived, and more complicated cases where empirical correlations or numerical methods must be used.

Heat transfer through convection (both forced and natural) is a big subject. We derive and study the energy equation both for laminar and turbulent flows. A number of external configurations - like convective heat transfer for a flat plate, a cylinder, and tube bundles - are studied. We also study convective heat transfer for internal configurations such as pipes and channels.

Heat exchangers are the most common industrial heat tranfer devices. Specific applications may be found in air-conditioning, power production, cooling of the water and oil in a car etc. The course comprises Parallel-Flow, Counter-Flow, Cross-Flow and Compact heat exchangers.

In the end of the course there is a thorough treatment of thermal radiation. We define emission, absorption, radiosity etc. Thermal radiation from gray surfaces, black body radiation, view factors, radiation, absorption and reflection are some of the phenomena that are treated.

For industrially applied problems in heat transfer one must in general use numerical methods. The commercial CFD code (Computational Fluid Dynamics) Fluent ( is used in the exercises and in a project work to study conduction and convection. The results are compared with analytical and empirical correlations.

See the course homepage for more, and updated information.


The theory of heat transfer is presented at the lectures, and is used in the exercises to solve general problems in heat transfer. There are two lectures and two exercises each week. In one of the exercises we use both engineering methods (by hand), and numerical methods (Fluent) to solve the same heat transfer problems. The aim of this is to give the students a deeper understanding of the assumptions made in the engineering methods, skills in using the Fluent commercial CFD code, and a 'feeling' for how heat transfer occurs. The results from the Fluent exercises should be reported in simple written reports that help the student practice the learning outcomes. At the end of the course the physical understanding of heat transfer is improved through an extended project work using Fluent, where the students work in groups of two. The extended project work should be reported both orally and in a written report.

The written language is English. Lectures are given in English if there are any participants that do not understand Swedish. The project works are supervised both in Swedish and English.


  • Fundamentals of Heat and Mass Transfer, latest edition, Incropera / DeWitt / Bergman / Lavine
  • The Fluent Manual
  • Supplementary material on the course homepage and on the Wiley homepage
  • Instructions on project work and writing reports from the Bachelor thesis (kandidatarbete) general directives


Written examination. Written and oral presentation of the computer project and written presentation of the computer exercises are also part of the examination. It is compulsory to attend to the presentations.

See the updated course info at the course homepage for detailed and updated information regarding the examination!

Page manager Published: Thu 04 Feb 2021.