Review of heat transfer enhancement techniques for single phase flows

Mohamed H. Mousa, Nenad Miljkovic, Kashif Nawaz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The thermal energy exchange between a flowing fluid and its confining channel is a ubiquitous process in modern society. To enhance the fluid-to-wall or wall-to-fluid heat transfer, several techniques have been developed to maximize the contact area between the fluid and the inner wall and/or disrupt the flow to enhance circulation or induce turbulence. Deployment of channels having features capable of enhancing heat transfer enables the reduction of heat exchanger size while maintaining performance. Reduction in equipment size is critical due to the ability to minimize the required volume of costly working fluids and to mitigate potential safety concerns associated with total system fluid volume. Here, a comprehensive review of single-phase heat transfer enhancement techniques is presented. The article provides a thorough comparison by analyzing the heat transfer rate, pressure drop, and other operational aspects. Single-phase heat transfer enhancement methods are divided into active and passive techniques. Active methods such as electrohydrodynamic (EHD), magnetohydrodynamics (MHD), or mechanical motion require external power to create enhancement. Passive methods such as dimples, fins, or tape inserts do not require external input and rely only on surface modification. Although active methods are more expensive and difficult to implement compared to passive techniques, it enables active control of heat transfer augmentation. This review develops and summarizes key learning data for design optimization enabled by additive manufacturing and machine learning algorithms, helping to inform these next-generation heat exchanger design methodologies for a plethora of modern applications such as electrification of vehicles, computing, and classical industries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110566
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • Active heat transfer
  • Boundary layer
  • Friction factor
  • Heat transfer augmentation
  • Insert
  • Internal flow
  • Nusselt number
  • Passive heat transfer
  • Pressure drop
  • Swirl flow
  • Twisted tape

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


Dive into the research topics of 'Review of heat transfer enhancement techniques for single phase flows'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this