The correlation between heat transfer enhancement and secondary flow structures in laminar flows through a chaotic heat exchanger is discussed. The geometry consists of three bends; the angle between curvature planes of successive bends is 90°. Numerical simulations are performed for both steady and pulsating flows when the walls are subjected to a constant temperature. The temperature profiles and secondary flow patterns at the exit of bends are compared in order to characterize the flow. Simulations are carried out for the Reynolds numbers range 300Re800, velocity amplitude ratios (the ratio of the peak oscillatory velocity component to the mean flow velocity) 1≤β≤2.5, and wall temperatures 310Tw(K)360. The results show that in the steady flow, heat transfer enhancement occurs with increasing Reynolds number and wall temperature. However, heating homogenization becomes almost independent of Reynolds number when homoclinic connections exist in the flow. Moreover, at high values of wall temperature, heat transfer enhancement is greater than mixing improvement due to the presence of homoclinic connections. In the pulsating flow, Nusselt number improves with β, and β2 is a sufficient condition for heat transfer enhancement. The formation and development of homoclinic connections are correlated with the heating homogenization.

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