Thermal Radiation Heat Transfer: 6th Edition (Hardback) book cover

Thermal Radiation Heat Transfer

6th Edition

By John R. Howell, M. Pinar Mengüç, Robert Siegel

CRC Press

1,016 pages | 646 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2015-07-28
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Explore the Radiative Exchange between Surfaces

Further expanding on the changes made to the fifth edition, Thermal Radiation Heat Transfer, 6th Edition continues to highlight the relevance of thermal radiative transfer and focus on concepts that develop the radiative transfer equation (RTE).

The book explains the fundamentals of radiative transfer, introduces the energy and radiative transfer equations, covers a variety of approaches used to gauge radiative heat exchange between different surfaces and structures, and provides solution techniques for solving the RTE.

What’s New in the Sixth Edition

This revised version updates information on properties of surfaces and of absorbing/emitting/scattering materials, radiative transfer among surfaces, and radiative transfer in participating media. It also enhances the chapter on near-field effects, addresses new applications that include enhanced solar cell performance and self-regulating surfaces for thermal control, and updates references.

Comprised of 17 chapters, this text:

  • Discusses the fundamental RTE and its simplified forms for different medium properties
  • Presents an intuitive relationship between the RTE formulations and the configuration factor analyses
  • Explores the historical development and the radiative behavior of a blackbody
  • Defines the radiative properties of solid opaque surfaces
  • Provides a detailed analysis and solution procedure for radiation exchange analysis
  • Contains methods for determining the radiative flux divergence (the radiative source term in the energy equation)

Thermal Radiation Heat Transfer, 6th Edition explores methods for solving the RTE to determine the local spectral intensity, radiative flux, and flux gradient. This book enables you to assess and calculate the exchange of energy between objects that determine radiative transfer at different energy levels.


"This classical text, which has inspired generations of heat transfer students and researchers, has been updated and improved to make its content current with valuable online resources. The book covers very fundamental concepts of thermal radiation and radiative transport in participating and nonparticipating media, recent advances in inverse problems and near-field thermal radiation, and real-world applications including solar energy conversion."

—Zhuomin Zhang, Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, USA

"The most complete and wide cover of all aspects of radiative transfer. Clear explanations. Very good exercises."

—Vladimir Solovjov (Soloviev), Mechanical Engineering Department, BYU

"A new edition of this well-known textbook is always considered as a major event. Once again, this new edition of the ‘’Howell – Siegel – Mengüç’’ textbook on thermal radiation heat transfer will prove to be indispensable and a gold mine for students, engineers and researchers. … new comers to thermal radiation and already experts will surely be very contended with this new edition."

—Rodolphe Vaillon, CNRS

"In general, the material strikes a good balance between providing the student a high level pedagogical explanation of complex phenomena, while retaining the details needed for implementing modern solution techniques. The textbook is an invaluable resource for teaching graduate students, and an excellent reference for the experienced researcher."

—Kyle Daun, University of Waterloo

"This text is a classic in radiation heat transfer. The new edition is updated with better arrangement in numerical solution methods of radiative transfer equation coupled with conduction and/or convection heat transfer and gas radiation properties. The organization is more logical and streamlined. The treatment maintains the comprehensive and fundamental nature of this text."

—Pei-feng Hsu, Florida Institute of Technology

"This book is a classic. I learned about radiation heat transfer from it years ago and with all the improvements made, it is still probably the best for the students of today to learn about radiation. The coverage is encyclopedic, yet every topic is explained clearly and in great detail. Chapters also include figures, data, examples and exercises that make the book useful as a text."

—Ernesto Gutierrez-Miravete, Professor of Practice

"… Professor M. Pinar Mengüç has joined the team of authors, contributing with his extensive expertise in radiative heat transfer. Thus Thermal Radiation Heat Transfer is since authored by Howell, Siegel and Mengüç. The new team with its reinforced skills assures a bright future for the book."

—Jean-François Sacadura, INSA Lyon – France

"… a successful combination of well-known formalisms and up-to-date solutions and data that the radiative transfer community offers through modern papers and conferences. Hence, the reader can find the classical descriptions of the most often used methods, plus the updated derivations which extend these methods. … useful both for engineers and researchers, from practical applications to modern developments."

—Pascal Boulet, Professor at Université de Lorraine, France

"… a really great resource for engineers and researchers on radiative heat transfer, for beginners but also for more advanced readers. It improves at each new edition and reflects the most recent developments on radiative transfer. It is undoubtedly the most comprehensive resource on the topic …"

—Dr. Frederic Andre, CNRS

"… updates the coverage of this authoritative textbook and completes an excellent textbook for graduate classes on radiation heat transfer. … an extremely helpful resource to researchers, engineers and scientists in the Field of thermal radiation."

—Costas Grigoropoulos, University of California, Berkeley

"… In a few words: this book altogether offers a complete and clear vision of thermal radiation and a detailed analysis of any specific process it involves. I find it enormously helpful for anyone approaching the domain, at any level."

—Denis Lemonnier, Institut Prime, CNRS / ISAE-ENSMA / Univ. of Poitiers

Table of Contents

Introduction to Radiative Transfer

Importance of Thermal Radiation in Engineering

Thermal Energy Transfer

Thermal Radiative Transfer

Radiative Energy Exchange and Radiative Intensity

Characteristics of Emission

Radiative Energy along a Line-of-Sight

Radiative Transfer Equation

Radiative Transfer in Enclosures with Nonparticipating Media

Concluding Remarks and Historical Notes


Radiative Properties at Interfaces





Transmissivity at an Interface

Relations among Reflectivity, Absorptivity, Emissivity, and Transmissivity


Radiative Properties of Opaque Materials


Electromagnetic Wave Theory Predictions

Extensions of the Theory for Radiative Properties

Measured Properties of Real Dielectric Materials

Measured Properties of Metals

Selective and Directional Opaque Surfaces

Concluding Remarks


Configuration Factors for Diffuse Surfaces with Uniform Radiosity

Radiative Transfer Equation for Surfaces Separated by a Transparent Medium

Geometric Configuration Factors between Two Surfaces

Methods for Determining Configuration Factors

Constraints on Configuration Factor Accuracy

Compilation of Known Configuration Factors and Their References: Appendix C and Web Catalog


Radiation Exchange in Enclosures Composed of Black and/or Diffuse-Gray Surfaces


Radiative Transfer for Black Surfaces

Radiation between Finite Diffuse-Gray Areas

Radiation Analysis Using Infinitesimal Areas

Computer Programs for Enclosure Analysis


Exchange of Thermal Radiation among Nondiffuse Nongray Surfaces


Enclosure Theory for Diffuse Nongray Surfaces

Directional-Gray Surfaces

Surfaces with Directionally and Spectrally Dependent Properties

Radiation Exchange in Enclosures with Specularly Reflecting Surfaces

Net-Radiation Method in Enclosures Having Both Specular and Diffuse Reflecting Surfaces

Multiple Radiation Shields

Concluding Remarks


Radiation Combined with Conduction and Convection at Boundaries


Energy Relations and Boundary Conditions

Radiation Transfer with Conduction Boundary Conditions

Radiation with Convection and Conduction

Numerical Solution Methods

Numerical Integration Methods for Use with Enclosure Equations

Numerical Formulations for Combined-Mode Energy Transfer

Numerical Solution Techniques

Monte Carlo Method

Concluding Remarks


Inverse Problems in Radiative Heat Transfer

Introduction to Inverse Problems

General Inverse Solution Methods

Comparison of Methods for a Particular Problem

Application of Metaheuristic Methods

Unresolved Problems

Inverse Problems at the Nanoscale

Inverse Problems Involving Participating Media

Concluding Remarks


Properties of Absorbing and Emitting Media


Spectral Lines and Bands for Gas Absorption and Emission

Band Models and Correlations for Gas Absorption and Emission

Gas Total Emittance Correlations

True Absorption Coefficient

Radiative Properties of Translucent Liquids and Solids


Fundamental Radiative Transfer Relations


Energy Equation and Boundary Conditions for a Participating Medium

Radiative Transfer and Source-Function Equations

Radiative Flux and Its Divergence within a Medium

Summary of Relations for Radiative Transfer in Absorbing, Emitting, and Scattering Media

Treatment of Radiation Transfer in Non-LTE Media

Net Radiation Method for Enclosures Filled with an Isothermal Medium of Uniform Composition

Evaluation of Spectral Geometric-Mean Transmittance and Absorptance Factors

Mean Beam Length Approximation for Spectral Radiation from an Entire Volume of a Medium to All or Part of Its Boundary

Exchange of Total Radiation in an Enclosure by Use of Mean Beam Length

Optically Thin and Cold Media


Radiative Transfer in Plane Layers and Multidimensional Geometries


Radiative Intensity, Flux, Flux Divergence, and Source Function in a Plane Layer

Gray Plane Layer of Absorbing and Emitting Medium with Isotropic Scattering

Gray Plane Layer in Radiative Equilibrium

Multidimensional Radiation in a Participating Gray Medium with Isotropic Scattering


Solution Methods for Radiative Transfer in Participating Media


Series Expansion and Moment Methods

Discrete Ordinates (SN) Method

Other Methods That Depend on Angular Discretization

Zonal Method

Monte Carlo Technique for Radiatively Participating Media

Additional Solution Methods

Comparison of Results for the Methods

Benchmark Solutions for Computational Verification

Inverse Problems Involving Participating Media

Use of Mean Absorption Coefficients

Solution Using Commercial Codes


Conjugate Heat Transfer in Participating Media


Radiation Combined with Conduction

Transient Solutions Including Conduction

Combined Radiation, Conduction, and Convection in a Boundary Layer

Numerical Solution Methods for Combined Radiation, Conduction, and Convection in Participating Media

Combined Radiation, Convection, and Conduction Heat Transfer

Inverse Multimode Problems

Verification, Validation, and Uncertainty Quantification


Electromagnetic Wave Theory


EM Wave Equations

Wave Propagation in a Medium

Laws of Reflection and Refraction

Amplitude and Scattering Matrices

EM Wave Theory and the Radiative Transfer Equation


Absorption and Scattering by Particles and Agglomerates


Absorption and Scattering: Definitions

Scattering by Spherical Particles

Scattering by Small Particles

Lorenz-Mie Theory for Spherical Particles

Prediction of Properties for Irregularly Shaped Particles

Approximate Anisotropic Scattering Phase Functions

Dependent Absorption and Scattering


Near-Field Thermal Radiation


Electromagnetic Treatment of Thermal Radiation and Basic Concepts

Evanescent and Surface Waves

Near-Field Radiative Heat Flux Calculations

Computational Studies of Near-Field Thermal Radiation

Experimental Studies of Near-Field Thermal Radiation

Concluding Remarks



Radiative Effects in Translucent Solids, Windows, and Coatings


Transmission, Absorption, and Reflection of Windows

Enclosure Analysis with Partially Transparent Windows

Effects of Coatings or Thin Films on Surfaces

Refractive Index Effects on Radiation in a Participating Medium

Multiple Participating Layers with Heat Conduction

Light Pipes and Fiber Optics

Final Remarks


A: Conversion Factors, Radiation Constants, and Blackbody Functions

B: Radiative Properties

Catalog of Selected Configuration Factors

Exponential Integral Relations and Two-Dimensional Radiation Functions

E: References

About the Authors

John R. Howell received his academic degrees from Case Western Reserve University (Case Institute of Technology), Cleveland, Ohio. He began his engineering career as a researcher at NASA Lewis (Glenn) Research Center (1961–1968) and then took academic positions at the University of Houston (1978–1988) and the University of Texas at Austin, where he remained until retirement in 2012. He is presently Ernest Cockrell, Jr., Memorial Chair emeritus at The University of Texas.

Howell pioneered the use of the Monte Carlo method for the analysis of radiative heat transfer in complex systems that contain absorbing, emitting, and scattering media.

Robert Siegel received his ScD in mechanical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1953. For two years he worked at General Electric Company in the Heat Transfer Consulting Office and on analyzing the heat transfer characteristics of the Seawolf submarine nuclear reactor. He joined NASA in 1955 and was a senior research scientist at the Lewis/Glenn Research Center until he retired in 1999. He was an associate editor for the Journal of Heat Transfer and the Journal of Thermophysics and Heat Transfer. He has written numerous papers, and given graduate heat transfer courses as an adjunct professor at three universities.

M. Pinar Mengüç completed his BSc and MS in mechanical engineering from the Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara, Turkey. He earned his PhD in mechanical engineering from Purdue University in 1985. He joined the University of Kentucky in 1985 and was promoted to associate and full professor in 1988 and 1993, respectively. In 2008, he became an Engineering Alumni Association professor .. In 2011 he joined Özyegin University in Istanbul as the founding head of the Mechanical Engineering Department and founding director of the Center for Energy, Environment, and Economy (CEEE).

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Energy
SCIENCE / Mechanics / Dynamics / Thermodynamics