Heat Transfer (H3055)

15 credits, Level 6

Spring teaching

Heat transfer is ubiquitous throughout modern life – from the design of fusion reactors and improving the efficiency of gas turbine engines to sustainable measures for warming and cooling homes.

In this module, we introduce you to topics related to heat transfer. You’ll apply theory and modern numerical methods in the solution of complex engineering problems across a range of relevant technologies.

Topics will include the fundamentals of heat transfer via conduction, convection and radiation. We’ll explore and extend further in each of these areas to cover more complex situations and geometries.

Practical sessions reinforce underlying theory, whilst demonstrating the effects of experimental uncertainties in the context of sustainable energy technologies.

Topics explored in this module are applicable to UN Sustainable Development Goal 7 – Affordable and Clean Energy. They normally include:

  • fundamentals – revision of the basic laws of and simple concepts in, conduction, convection, and radiation
  • conduction – 1-D steady state conduction in plane and radial geometries, heat transfer from extended surfaces, simple time-dependent heat conduction
  • numerical methods in conduction – finite difference approximations, implementation of boundary conditions, 2D steady state and 1D time dependent problems, direct and indirect solution methods
  • use of Matlab PDE toolbox in solution of Heat transfer problems
  • principles of convection – modes of convection, the convection coefficient and how to obtain it, dimensionless groups, the average Nusselt number, the Reynolds analogy
  • applications of convection – flat plate laminar and turbulent flow, pipe flow, free convection from vertical and horizontal surfaces
  • radiation – the Stefan-Boltzmann law, radiative properties, view factors, black body and grey body analysis, combined radiation and convection.


50%: Lecture
27%: Practical (Laboratory)
23%: Seminar (Class)


50%: Coursework (Portfolio)
50%: Examination (Unseen examination)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 29 hours of contact time and about 121 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2024/25. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: