Research activity in the ThermALab is focused on the study of heat transfer, with the purpose of finding models, of proposing engineering solutions and of deepening the knowledge of heat transfer and thermodynamics related fields.
The main research topics are:
Heat transfer in Forced Convection
The improvement of heat transfer in forced convection is a very important matter in various industrial applications like gas turbines cooling or plate-fin compact heat exchangers. Convection over enhanced surfaces (ribs) and multi-scale heat transfer are studied from a theoretical, numerical and an experimental standpoint. Very accurate experimental data are indeed required for this kind of analysis; thus, beginning from the nineties, the ThermALab Group also specialized in carrying out non-intrusive measurements of local heat transfer characteristics by means of optical techniques, like BOS, PIV and IR thermography applications.
Non Destructive Testing with IR thermography
IR thermography based Non Destructive Testing allow to spot internal defects within materials or assemblies without contact, combining ease of analysis and safety for the operator. The study focuses on modeling the physical behavior and the development of analysis techniques of IR images for the estimation of subsurface defects size and depth. Experimental activity allows us to further investigate the effect of different kinds of thermal stimuli and curvatures of materials on defect recognition.
Radiometric proprieties evaluation
Research in the radiometric proprieties sector aims at finding the spectral transmittance and reflectance of innovative films and the emissivity of surfaces or light sources in the context of innovative thermal management systems, for exemple smart windows and thermal dissipators for LED lamps
Computational Thermal Fluid Dynamics
Research activities of the TS&E Group on Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) date back to eighties when professor Muzzio started to use spectral methods to solve convective heat transfer problems. Today the ThermALab Group addresses CFD as an instrument to investigate processes, components and plants related to the energy sector. As energy systems are characterized by complex flow, turbulence and multiphase modeling are the scientific focus of this research topic; both open source and commercial CFD codes are used for the purpose. Moreover, since CFD is considered by the TS&E Group as a powerful tool for engineering analysis, appropriate procedures and protocols to manage the cycle of analysis and control the accuracy of the numerical results are studied and developed.
Applied thermal engineering
Research in applied thermal engineering aims at improving the thermal performances of components and systems for both civil and industrial applications; a large number of devices and equipments is relevant to this field, ranging from compact and ultra-compact heat exchangers to fire suppression systems, from Peltier cells to fuel cells, from heat pumps to thermal power generators. The applied research of the TS&E Group focuses on several of the abovementioned components and it is generally carried out in three steps: first, dominant phenomena are identified and separately modeled; then an overall model is developed in order to simulate the global performances; finally, improved or innovative solutions are studied. Experimental investigations support every research step.