Radial heat transfer in laminar pipe flow is limited to slow thermal conduction which results in a wide temperature distribution over the pipe cross-section. This is undesirable in many industrial processes as it leads to an uneven distribution of fluid heat treatment. Often the fluids involved are relatively viscous and processing them under turbulent conditions is impractical and/or uneconomical. On the other hand, the use of static in-line mixers to promote radial mixing may be prohibited in hygienic processes because they are difficult to keep clean. In this paper, we use a validated Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) model to show that the imposition of a transverse vibration motion on a steady laminar flow generates sufficient chaotic fluid motion which leads to considerable radial mixing. This results in a large enhancement in wall heat transfer as well as a near-uniform radial temperature field accompanied by a substantial heating of the inner region of the flow. Vibration also causes the temperature profile to develop very rapidly in the axial direction reducing the thermal entrance length by a large factor, so that much shorter pipes could in principle be used to achieve a desired temperature at the outlet. The effects are quantitatively demonstrated for Newtonian and non-Newtonian pseudoplastic fluids of different viscosities, for a wide range of vibration amplitudes and frequencies. For processes where vibrational motion can be implemented the benefits can be very significant. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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