Time-accurate 3-D CFD simulations based on the SST-SAS turbulence model were performed to study the effects of heat load on the unsteady flow and heat transfer in a cooling duct with a staggered array of short pin fins. For this duct, the static pressure at its exit is maintained at 25 bars, and the cooling air that enters has a temperature of 673 K with a flow rate that produces a Reynolds number of 25,000. To examine the effects of heat load, the following isothermal wall temperatures were studied: 678 K, 873 K, 1073 K, and 1,273 K, which give rises to heat loads that range from 15 kW/m2 to 1.5 MW/m2. Results obtained show high heat loads to cause considerable changes in the temperature of the cooling flow along the duct, which causes significant changes in density and velocity as well as viscosity and thermal conductivity. These changes along the duct were found to affect the locations where unsteady flow separation take place around the pin fins, the magnitude of the vorticity shed in the wakes, and the shedding Strouhal number. These unsteady flow mechanisms in turn strongly affect the nature of the surface heat transfer. A correlation formula for the heat transfer, which accounts for the effects of heat loads, was developed.

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