The effect of wall emissivity on radiator heat output

S. B.M. Beck*, S. G. Blakey, M. C. Chung

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


The variation in the heat output of panel radiators obtained by altering the emissivity of the wall behind them has been examined. This work was conducted through experiments and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD). The results indicate that the presence of a high emissivity (black, such as the usual painted or wallpapered) surface to the wall increases the mass flow rate and air velocity behind the heat source compared to a reflective material. This is due to the radiation heat transfer to the wall creating an additional convecting surface behind the radiator. The results imply that the heat transfer rate can be increased by 20% through the use of a black instead of a reflective wall. The work concentrated on the air-gap behind the radiator, so these results will not be directly applicable to a normal radiator. An extrapolation indicates that the output of single bank (plate) radiator will be increased by 10% and a double radiator by 5%. Wall surface temperature results indicate that a reflective wall does indeed decrease the heat loss through the wall. The trend shown in the data obtained from the CFD analysis agreed well with the experimental results. The flow and temperature plots obtained from the CFD work help to explain the heat exchange and fluid flow processes that take place between the radiator and the wall. This understanding should lead the engineer to a better consideration of radiator placement and design.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-194
Number of pages10
JournalBuilding Services Engineering Research and Technology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2001

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2005 Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam. All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction


Dive into the research topics of 'The effect of wall emissivity on radiator heat output'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this