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A Critical Examination of Correlation Methodology Widely Used in Heat Transfer and Fluid Flow

[+] Author Affiliations
Eugene F. Adiutori

Ventuno Press, Naples, FL

Paper No. HT-FED2004-56060, pp. 929-934; 6 pages
  • ASME 2004 Heat Transfer/Fluids Engineering Summer Conference
  • Volume 1
  • Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, July 11–15, 2004
  • Conference Sponsors: Heat Transfer Division and Fluids Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4690-3 | eISBN: 0-7918-3740-8
  • Copyright © 2004 by ASME


The correlation methodology widely used in heat transfer and fluid flow is based on fitting power laws to data. Because all power laws of positive exponent include the point (0,0), this methodology includes the tacit assumption that phenomena are best described by correlations that include the point (0,0). • If a phenomenon occurs near (0,0), the assumption is obviously valid. For example, laminar flow occurs near (0,0), and therefore the assumption is valid for laminar flow pressure drop correlations. • If a phenomenon does not occur near (0,0), the assumption is obviously invalid. For example, turbulent flow does not occur near (0,0)—it occurs only after a critical Reynolds number is reached. Therefore the assumption is invalid for turbulent flow pressure drop correlations. When the assumption is invalid, the correlation methodology widely used in heat transfer and fluid flow is lacking in rigor. The impact of the lack of rigor is evidenced by examples that demonstrate that, when this methodology is applied to phenomena that do not occur in the vicinity of (0,0), highly nonlinear power laws oftentimes result from data that exhibit highly linear behavior. Because the widely used methodology lacks rigor when applied to phenomena that do not occur near (0,0), power laws based on this methodology are suspect if they purport to describe phenomena that do not occur near (0,0). Data cited in support of such power laws should be recorrelated using rigorous correlation methodology. Rigorous correlation methodology is also used in heat transfer and fluid flow. It is described in the text, and should become the methodology in general use.

Copyright © 2004 by ASME



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