The Perdikaris Group has a new paper out in the Journal of Heat Transfer.
Physics-informed neural networks (PINNs) have gained popularity across different engineering fields due to their effectiveness in solving realistic problems with noisy data and often partially missing physics. In PINNs, automatic differentiation is leveraged to evaluate differential operators without discretization errors, and a multi-task learning problem is defined in order to simultaneously fit observed data while respecting the underlying governing laws of physics. Here, we present applications of PINNs to various prototype heat transfer problems, targeting in particular realistic conditions not readily tackled with traditional computational methods. To this end, we first consider forced and mixed convection with unknown thermal boundary conditions on the heated surfaces and aim to obtain the temperature and velocity fields everywhere in the domain, including the boundaries, given some sparse temperature and velocity measurements. We also consider the prototype Stefan problem for two-phase flow, aiming to infer the moving interface, the velocity and temperature fields everywhere as well as the different conductivities of a solid and a liquid phase, given a few temperature measurements inside the domain. Finally, we present some realistic industrial applications related to power electronics to highlight the practicality of PINNs as well as the effective use of neural networks in solving general heat transfer problems of industrial complexity. Taken together, the results presented herein demonstrate that PINNs not only can solve ill-posed problems, which are beyond the reach of traditional computational methods, but they can also bridge the gap between computational and experimental heat transfer.