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UCL Mechanical Engineering
Faculty of Engineering Sciences


MECHGM06 Heat Transfer & Heat Systems

MECHGM06 Heat Transfer & Heat Systems

For the heat transfer part, three modes of heat transfer will be studied, and the heat systems part deals with refrigeration and air-conditioning systems.

At the end of the course students will be able to:

  • Evaluate the thermal radiation heat transfer between surfaces.
  • Solve one-dimensional steady state conduction problems by applying the heat balance equation and using thermal resistances through linear, cylindrical and spherical geometries.
  • Determine the heat transfer occurring through a series of fins and their performance.
  • Analyse convection problems and determine convection coefficients in external flow conditions, flat plate, cylinder, tube bundles and in internal flow conditions, circular and concentric circular tubes
  • Design and dimension a heat exchanger system both by using the notions acquired in the previous points and by applying the NTU method or the log mean temperature difference method
  • Understand the operation of a vapour compression refrigeration system and how its operation and performance depend on various internal and ambient conditions.
  • Select appropriate refrigerant for a given application, characterize and choose suitable components from catalogues to balance a refrigeration system according to certain design specifications.
  • Have a solid understanding of the Psychrometry of air conditioning processes and be able to choose optimum supply design conditions by using notions of sensible heat, latent heat and room ratio line.
Alt. Code(s) MECHM007
Title Heat Transfer & Heat Systems
Level M
UCL credits/ECTs 0.5/7.5
Start September
End March
Taught by Dr William Suen (50%) Module Coordinator
Dr Andrea Ducci (50%)


Students considering registering for this course would normally be expected to have completed an intermediate level course in thermodynamics, e.g. MECH2004, although exposure to an advanced level course would be advantageous.

Method of Instruction

Lecture presentations, tutorial classes and one piece of course assignment. Parts of the lecture notes (slides and tutorials) are made available in Moodle after the lecture.


The course has the following assessment components:

  • Written Examination (2 hours, 65%)
  • A critical review/ appraisal of a chosen topic (e.g. a review of FDD methodologies in HVAC&R or a review of modelling and simulation techniques in HVAC&R.)

To pass this course, students must:

  • Obtain an overall pass mark of 50% for all sections combined

Recommended Reading

  • Gosney W B, Principles of Refrigeration, Cambridge University Press, 1982.
  • Stoecker W F and Jones J W, Refrigeration and Air-conditioning, McGraw-Hill, 1982.
  • “Fundamentals of heat and mass transfer”, Incropera, Dewitt, Bergman and Lavine, 6th Edition, John Wiley & sons Inc.
  • Convection heat transfer, Bejan, 2nd Edition, John Wiley & sons Inc.
  • Air Conditioning engineering, WP Jones, 5th Edition, Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann
  • Heating, ventilating, and air conditioning: analysis and design, McQuiston, Parker and Spitler, 6th edition, John Wiley & sons Inc.


Conduction: Temperature distributions in bodies; boundary conditions; surface and overall heat transfer coefficients; fins.

Convection: thermal boundary layers; free and forced convection; Reynolds’ analogy; dimensional analysis and empirical correlation.

Radiation: laws of black and grey body radiation: Exchange between infinite and finite surfaces; radiation in enclosures; solar energy. Heat transfer with change of phase. Heat exchangers: types, determination of performance.

Air Conditioning: Physiological requirements for comfort. Basic Psychrometry. Calculation of heat gains. Smoke clearance.

Refrigeration Engineering: Vapour compression refrigeration. Heat exchanger analysis and design. Characterisation of evaporator and condenser. Compressor types and classification. Expansion devices.

Marine Refrigeration: Refrigerated cargo. Reefer vessel. Design and testing. Marine containers. Container ships. Controlled atmosphere.

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