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Coupl3: Temperature distribution in an electric wire

Calculate the temperature distribution in a long current carrying wire.

Problem Type:
An axisymmetric problem of electro-thermal coupling.


Wire diameter d = 10 mm;
Resistance ρ = 310-4 Ω/m;
Electric current i = 1000 A;
Thermal conductivity λ = 20 W/Km;
Convection coefficient α = 800 W/Km2;
Ambient temperature T0 = 20C.

Calculate the temperature distribution in the wire.

We arbitrary chose a 10 mm piece of wire to be represented by the model. For data input we need the wire diameter d = 10 mm, and the resistivity of material:

R = ρ · πd2/ 4 = 2.35610-8 Ohmm,

and voltage drop for our 10 mm piece of the wire:

ΔU = i  R  L = 310-3 V.

For the DC conduction problem we specify two different voltages at two sections of the wire, and a zero current condition at its surface. For heat transfer problem we specify zero flux conditions at the sections of the wire and a convection boundary condition at its surface.

Comparison of Results:


Center line temperature, T (C)





W. Rohsenow and H. Y. Choi, "Heat, Mass, and Momentum Transfer", Prentice-Hall, N.J., 1963.

See the Coupl3CF.pbm and Coupl3HT.pbm problems in the Examples folder for the corresponding DC conduction and steady-state heat transfer parts of this problem.