A computational procedure for finding multiple solutions of convective heat transfer equations
In recent years numerical solutions of the convective heat transfer equations have provided significant insight into the complex materials processing operations. However, these computational methods suffer from two major shortcomings. First, these procedures are designed to calculate temperature fields and cooling rates as output and the unidirectional structure of these solutions preclude specification of these variables as input even when their desired values are known. Second, and more important, these procedures cannot determine multiple pathways or multiple sets of input variables to achieve a particular output from the convective heat transfer equations. Here we propose a new method that overcomes the aforementioned shortcomings of the commonly used solutions of the convective heat transfer equations. The procedure combines the conventional numerical solution methods with a real number based genetic algorithm (GA) to achieve bi-directionality, i.e. the ability to calculate the required input variables to achieve a specific output such as temperature field or cooling rate. More important, the ability of the GA to find a population of solutions enables this procedure to search for and find multiple sets of input variables, all of which can lead to the desired specific output. The proposed computational procedure has been applied to convective heat transfer in a liquid layer locally heated on its free surface by an electric arc, where various sets of input variables are computed to achieve a specific fusion zone geometry defined by an equilibrium temperature. Good agreement is achieved between the model predictions and the independent experimental results, indicating significant promise for the application of this procedure in finding multiple solutions of convective heat transfer equations.