Heat Transfer in Beer Bottles As Explained By COMSOL Models

W.M. Clark, R.C. Shevlin, and T.S. Soffen
Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA, USA

In this poster we present experiments and calculations that investigate these claims and demonstrate how COMSOL Multiphysics can be used in an undergraduate student project to illustrate engineering fundamentals.

We measured the temperature of water in glass, aluminum, and plastic bottles as a function of time upon cooling in a refrigerator, cooling in ice water, heating in air, and heating while hand-held. COMSOL models helped explain the results that bottle material was almost irrelevant upon cooling in a refrigerator and heating in air but made a difference when cooling in ice water and heating while hand-held. Heat transfer coefficients required to fit the data were converted to equivalent thermal boundary layers in a conduction-only model to illustrate the resistance to heat transfer provided by the fluids inside and outside of the bottles and the bottle walls. Results show that the resistance due to air outside the bottle dominates the process, but the resistance due to ice water or a warm hand does not.

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