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Forced Convection over Flat Plate Correlations

UPDATED: 06/03/2021

This workbook implements standard, mostly empirical, correlations for forced convection over a heated, horizontal flat plate.   Both laminar and turbulent flows are calculated, including the transition from one to the other.   Cases involving an unheated starting length are also covered as seen in the second plot below.

Boundary layer thickness (solid lines) and convection coefficients (short-dashed) computed for laminar and turbulent boundary layers as well as for a “mixed” condition (long-dashed) in which the transition to turbulence occurs abruptly halfway down the flat plate.


Local Nusselt number for laminar boundary layer starting at the leading edge (red) and for a turbulent boundary layer assumed to have grown from the leading edge (blue). The Nusselt numbers computed using an integral boundary layer model for an unheated starting length are also plotted.  Recall that Nux = h x/k, so that even though the Nusselt number is increasing with x/L, the convective heat transfer coefficient (the bottom line) is decreasing as the boundary layer grows in thickness.

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