countercurrent heat exchange

views updated

countercurrent heat exchange A counterflow mechanism that enables fluids at different temperatures flowing in channels in opposite directions to exchange their heat content without mixing. An example of countercurrent heat exchange occurs in the feet of penguins, in which heat from blood in the arteries supplying the feet is transferred to blood returning to the body's core in veins that lie close to these arteries. This helps to maintain the core temperature in freezing conditions.