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International Journal of Mechanical and Materials Engineering (IJMME), Vol. 7 (2012), No. 1, 1623.

EXPERIMENTAL STUDIES ON HEAT TRANSFER OF ALUMINA

/WATER
NANOFLUID IN A SHELL AND TUBE HEAT EXCHANGER WITH WIRE COIL INSERT

M. Raja
a*
, R.M. Arunachalam
b
and S. Suresh
c

a
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Government College of Engineering, Salem, India.
b
Centre for Micro and Nanotechnology, Sona College of Technology, Salem, India.
c
Department of Mechanical Engineering, National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirapalli, India.
*Corresponding authors E-mail: raaj.nml@gmail.com

Received 29 September 2011, Accepted 25 January 2012

ABSTRACT
The Heat transfer characteristics of Alumina/water
nanofluid in a STHE with the aid of coil insert is being
studied. Investigations were made on the effects of Peclet
number and the effect of the Alumina/water nanofluid
concentration on the heat transfer and pumping power
characteristics. An increase in the volume concentration
of the nanoparticles in the base fluid caused a significant
enhancement in the overall heat transfer characteristics
compared to that of water. When a wire coil insert was
used, further increment in overall heat transfer coefficient
was found for a particular peclet number. The superior
thermal characteristics of nanofluid obtained with the aid
of coil insert may be attributed to the thermal dispersion
effect, which caused the temperature distribution to
flatten and as a result the temperature difference between
the fluid and tube wall steepened resulting in the increase
of heat transfer.

Key words: Heat transfer, Nanofluid, Coil, Coolant.

NOMENCLATURE
A Tube surface area ( m
2
)
C Specific heat (kJ kg
-1
K
-1
)
D Diameter at the section (tube or shell) ( m )
k Thermal conductivity ( Wm
-1
K
-1
)
N Pump power consumption (kW)
m Flow rate ( kg/s )
Pe Pectlet Number (Dimensionless)
Pr Prandtl number (Dimensionless)
Q Rate of Heat transfer (kW)
Re Reynolds number (Dimensionless)
T Temperature (C)
U Overall heat transfer coefficient (Wm
-2
K
-1
)
V Fluid flow rate in the tube side (m
3
/s)
P Pressure drop (N/m
2
)
T
1
, T
2
Temperature changes at entry and exit ends (C)
T
LMTD
Logarithmic mean temperature difference (K )
t Time

Greek symbols
Dynamic viscosity ( N-s/m
2
)
Mass density

Subscripts
n Nanofluid
ni Nanofluid inlet
no Nanofluid outlet
s Shell
w Water
wi Water at entry
wo Water at exit

1. INTRODUCTION
Nanofluids are produced by suspending nanosized
particles (less than 100 nm) of high thermal conductivity
metals and metal oxides in heat transfer liquids such as
oil and water. Mahbubul et al. (2012) reviewed the
theoretical and experimental works on viscosities of
nanofluids and concluded that no existing model predict
the precise values. However, the temperature, volume
and rheological properties plays vital role and at lower
concentration nanofluids behaves like Newtonian fluid.
After comparing the nanofluids with that of the base
fluids, they were found to possess higher thermal
conductivities and at minimal concentrations lower
agglomeration was observed (Trisaksri and Wongwises,
2007). The recent review of nanofluids (Das and Patel,
2006) portrayed almost all of them were mainly
concentrated on the preparation and thermal conductivity
studies. Choi et al. (2001) showed that due to their higher
heat transfer characteristics, nanofluids were found to be
suitable for the cooling system of vehicles and heat
exchangers. A number of researchers (Wen and Ding,
2004; Heris et al., 2007; Hwang et al. 2009; Yang et al.
2005) proved that, under laminar flow conditions a
remarkable increase in convective heat transfer
coefficient was found for Alumina/water nanofluid. Xuan
and Li (2003) and William et al. (2008) have studied a
variety of nanofluids performance through the horizontal
tubes in the turbulent regime. Chandrasekar et al. (2010
and 2011) conducted experiments, which involved the
usage of a wire coil insert fitted circular tube, showed
that there was a rise in heat transfer rate with an
insignificant rise in friction factor in the plain tube and
tube with wire coil inserts. Saqr and Musa (2009)
investigated the consequence of repetitive fin
discontinuity on convective heat transfer coefficient for
pipes with internal longitudinal fins and found that
smaller the discontinuity offset distance, the higher the
convective heat transfer coefficient proved to be.
Mahbubul et al. (2011) investigated the frictional
pressure drop characteristics of TiO
2
-R123 refrigerant
and concluded that the pressure drop was significant for
17

higher concentration and hence it is good to use low
concentration nano refrigerant.
The main reason as to why the shell and tube heat
exchangers are generally being employed in chemical
and energy industries is due to their moderately simple
manufacturing process involved and their flexible nature
of adapting to different operating conditions. The
manufacturing and running costs of any heat exchanger
are influenced by the interdependent parameters such as
the pumping power requirement and heat transfer rate. In
the past, modern types of tube side inserts to improve the
turbulence were implemented and tube supports were put
into effect to enhance the thermal efficacy of shell and
tube heat exchangers, which yielded successful results.
Thome (1997) justified that only appropriate usage of
tubular heat transfer enhancements will be able to
minimize the linear dimension of tube of the heat
exchanger by 2575% when checked with the usual plain
tube heat exchanger. Hosseini et al. (2007)
experimentally studied the thermal and pressure
characteristics of the shell and tube heat exchanger by
providing various external tube surfaces.
In the current scenario of increased emphasis on climatic
changes, more efficient heat transfer equipments are
mandatory for automotives and industries, with heat
exchangers compact in size, pioneering heat transfer
methods, innovative fluids with enhanced heat transfer
characteristics prove to be environmental friendly. The
advantages of using nanofluid based modified heat
exchangers and heat transfer equipments, are reduction in
material usage which obviously reduces the weight and
usage of smaller components which yields powerful
cooling and improved component lifespan. From the
above literature review, it can be observed that the
thermo-hydraulic behaviour of nanofluids in a shell and
tube heat exchanger with wire coil insert remains
unexplored.
The main purpose of this work is to study and explore the
enhancement in heat transfer characteristics and its effect
on pressure drop of various concentrations of
Alumina/water nanofluid under laminar flow conditions
in a shell and tube heat exchanger with and without the
application of wire coil insert.
2. CHARACTERIZATION OF NANOPARTICLES
AND NANOFLUID
Nanocrystalline alumina (Al
2
O
3
) powder purchased from
Alfa Aesar (USA), was subjected to powder XRD (X-ray
diffraction) with the help of a Rigaku X-ray
diffractometer Cu-kal radiations in the range of 20-80
was used in the process. Using the Joint Committee on
Powder Diffraction Standards, all the reflections in the
XRD pattern can be indexed to the tetragonal phase of
Al
2
O
3
. Following this, the average grain size was
calculated using the Sherrer formula. It was found to be
40.3nm. The XRD spectra of Al
2
O
3
is represented in
Figure 1. Nanofluids (Figure 2), with volume
concentrations of 0.5%, 1% and 1.5% were prepared by
dissolving a calculated amount of Al
2
O
3
nanoparticles in
the base fluid namely water. With the goal of obtaining
harmonized dispersion and steady suspension throughout
which regulates the final properties of nanofluids these
were undertaken with the help of a magnetic stirrer and
an ultrasonic vibrator (Toshiba, India) capable of
producing ultrasonic pulses of around 100 W at 36 3



Figure 1 XRD of Al
2
O
3.


kHz. The prepared nanofluids were found to have a pH
of about 4.8 which is very low when compared with the
isoelectric point of 9.2 for alumina nanoparticles (Das et
al., 2003).



Figure 2 Alumina/water nanofluid

A Cyber pH-14L pH meter was used for this purpose.
Surfactants or pH manipulators were avoided as they
may influence the thermal properties of the nanofluids
(Xuan and Roetzel, 2000). This justifies the fact that the
nanoparticles were uniformly scattered and also stable,
due to the prodigious repellent forces acting between
when the pH is kept far-off from the isoelectric point.
Thus, the Alumina/water nanofluids prepared were
observed to be stable for many days without visually
18

recognizable agglomeration. The thermophysical
properties measured before and after the experiments
revealed that there is a slight increase in pH value,
however it will not affect the stability of the nanofluid,
since the isoelectric point of Alumina/water nanofluid is
nine.
3. MEASUREMENT OF THERMOPHYSICAL
PROPERTIES
3.1 Thermal Conductivity:
With the aid of a KD2 Pro thermal conductivity analyzer
(Decagon Devices, Inc., USA) the thermal conductivities
of Alumina/water hybrid nanofluid were measured. The
KD2 pro thermal property analyzer consists of an
element for heating, thermistor, sensor probes and a
microcontroller. The controller unit consists of a battery,
a 16-bit microcontroller, analog to digital convertor and
an electrical circuit for the purpose of power controlling.
The assumptions made during the measurement of
thermal conductivity were: i) the heat source was
considered to be an interminably long one. ii) The fluid
for which thermal conductivity is to be measured is
assumed to be both homogeneous and isotropic at
uniform initial temperature condition. A stainless steel
KS-1 sensor probe for a length of about 60 mm and a
diameter of 1.3 mm is used.

Figure 3 Ratio of thermal conductivity vs Different
concentration of Alumina/water nanofluid

This fairly accurate the infinite line heat source, which
gave minimal disruption to the sample fluid while
measuring. The measurement range of this equipment
lies in between 0.2 2 W/mK and its measurement
accuracy is 5%. Those fluids whose thermal
conductivity range lies in the above mentioned range can
be measured with the aid of this equipment. Each
measurement cycle takes about 90 seconds. Equilibration
of the instrument takes about 30 seconds, and the next 60
seconds include heating and cooling of the sensor needles
(30 each). At the culmination of the cycle, the controller
in the equipment computes the thermal conductivity of
the fluid using the change in temperature time data
form.
) ( 4
) ln (ln
1 2
1 2
T T
t t q
k
A A

=
t
(1)
where q is the constant heat rate applied to an
interminably long and small line source, T
1
and T
2

are the changes in temperature at times t
1
and t
2

respectively.

Initially the sensor probe was calibrated by gauging the
thermal conductivities of distilled water, glycerin and
ethylene glycol. They were found to be 0.611, 0.292 and
0.263 W/mK respectively with 5% accuracy. The
thermal conductivity ratio for different volume
concentrations of Alumina/water nanofluid was
measured and was compared with theoretical models
which are represented in Figure 3.

3.2 Dynamic Viscosity:
A Brookfield cone and plate viscometer (LVDV-1
PRIME C/P), is used for measuring the dynamic
viscosity of nanofluid. It is provided with a 2.4 cm 0.8
cone which is purchased from the Brookfield engineering
laboratories of U.S.A. A drive is given to the cone
through a spindle rod whereas the plate is fitted on the
sample cup. A CPE-40 spindle rod was used for samples
with dynamic viscosities ranging from 0.3 to 1,028 cP.
The space between the cone and the plate was maintained
at 0.013mm and the gap is controlled by adjusting the
electronic gap maintaining facility which is provided
along with the instrument. The test fluid was filled in
between the space maintained. As the spindle is rotated,
the viscous drag force offered by the test fluid against the
rotating spindle is measured by means of the deflection
given by the calibrated spring. As the cone and plate
geometry required a sample volume of only about 0.5 to
2ml, the temperature equilibrium was accomplished
swiftly within sixty seconds. Owing to the type of the
spindle rod used and the speed combinations, satisfactory


Figure 4 Ratio of viscosity vs Different concentration of
Alumina/water nanofluid

results were obtained when the applied torque was about
10-100% of the highest permissible torque. Those
readings whose applied torque did not fall within this
specified range were discarded during measurements.
The speed of the spindle rod can be varied from 0 to 100
rpm and the rate of shear stress ranges from 0-750 s
-1
.

19

The viscometer was calibrated with the help of ethylene
glycol, distilled water and glycerine whose values were
found to be 360.5, 0.82 and 10.9 centipoise respectively
which gives good agreement with the published values of
352, 0.79 and 10.7 centipoise respectively with an
accuracy percentage of 5%. The various concentrations
of Alumina/water nanofluid were measured and
compared with theoretical model which is shown in
Figure 4.
4. EXPERIMENTAL SETUP
A neat diagram of the experimental setup used to
investigate the heat transfer enhancement of nanofluid in
a shell and tube heat exchanger used in a diesel engine is
shown in Figure 5. It consists of two flow loops, one
representing Alumina/water

nanofluid (i.e., tube loop,
dotted line in figure), and the other, water (i.e., shell
loop, continuous line in figure) with each loop consisting
of a hydraulic pump provided with a flow meter and a
collecting tank whose arrangement is illustrated in
Figure 5. Nanofluid is supplied to the engine jacket and it
flows to the tube side of the heat exchanger as the hot
fluid with water being supplied to the shell side of the
heat exchanger as the cold fluid.

4.1 Heat Exchanger
The shell and tube heat exchanger being utilized in this
experiment consists of a shell with an internal diameter
of 0.146m and tubes of internal and external diameters
0.01m and 0.0133m respectively. There are about 27
copper tubes each of about 0.82m in length having a
pitch of 0.19m provided with a baffle cut and baffle
spacing of about 25% and 0.205m respectively. With the
aim of reducing the amount of heat lost to the
surrounding the heat exchanger and the pipe lines were
completely insulated. A coil insert, made using one mm
stainless steel wire with a coil diameter of 10 mm and
coil pitch ratio ( defined as the ratio between the pitch of
the coil to inner diameter of the tube ) of 1 was inserted
into every tubes of the shell and tube heat exchanger.

4.2 Experimental Apparatus
Two stainless steel tanks with a capacity of about 20 and
30 litres were taken for the purpose of holding the
nanofluid and water respectively. Two centrifugal pumps
were employed in the experiment, one for water and the
other for nanofluid. With the aim of maintaining the
volume flow rate, a bypass line with a valve was used in
both the loops. Rotometers calibrated by weighing the
collected liquids were used in both the loops to measure
the flow of the fluids whose measurement error is less
than 2%. Four K type standalone thermocouples with a
range of 0-140
o
C and 0.1
o
C accuracy were inserted into
the inlets and outlets of the shell and tubes in the heat
exchanger. They were benchmarked with a PT100 type
thermocouple. The thermocouples T
ni
and T
no
measures
the nanofluid temperature at the entry and exit point of
the heat exchanger tube side and T
wi
and T
wo
measures
the temperature of the water at the entry and exit point of
the shell side. A differential pressure transducer
(SGMsrl, Italy) is mounted across the tube bundle for the
purpose of measuring the pressure drop. The Shell and
tube heat exchanger (test section) is attached to the single
cylinder four stroke diesel engine.

4.3 Experimental Procedure
After thorough cleansing of the entire experimental setup
including the Engine cooling water jacket, Heat
exchanger and the connecting pipes, distilled water was
circulated as the tube side fluid and water was circulated
as the shell side fluid. The Engine was made to run for
some time, and the heat dissipated by the engine was
carried away by the distilled water.

The shell side fluid was passed through the cooler in
order to regain its original temperature. The cooler
releases the heat from the shell side fluid to the
atmosphere and as a result the cooled water is made free
to carry the heat again. After attaining steady state
condition, the temperature, pressure drop and the flow
rates were measured. Then the volume flow rate was
varied and the corresponding values were noted down.
After replacing distilled water by the Al
2
O
3
nanofluid, the
volume concentration was varied and their respective
concordant values were noted. Then the wire coil insert is
placed in the exchanger tube and the foresaid procedure
is again processed

5. DATA REDUCTION
The data obtained from the experiment were used to
calculate the overall heat transfer coefficient and
pumping power. The dynamic viscosity and thermal
conductivity of nanofluids for various concentrations
were measured. Density and specific heat were estimated
using theoretical models.
The Heat exchange rate between hot and cold fluid can be
determined easily for the measured temperature difference,
volume flow rate and specific heat of the test fluid with the
help of the equation given below.
Q
n
= m
n
C
n
(T
no
-T
ni
) (2)

Where Q
n
are the heat exchange rates of water and
nanofluid, m
n
is the mass flow rate of nanofluid, T
no
and
T
ni
are the temperatures at the entry and exit points of the
nanofluid, respectively.
The density of the nanofluid is calculated based on Pak
and Cho's equation as

|

k
n
+ =1

Where
|
|
.
|

\
|
= 1

s
k

(3)
The specific heat of the nanofluid which can be
determined with the help of Xuan and Roetzel (2000) as

|
|

k
k
c
c
c
p
n p
+
+
=
1
1
,

Where
|
|
.
|

\
|
= 1
,
p
s p s
c
C
C
k

(4)

20

Where, is the density, C
p
is the specific heat, | is the
volume concentrations and the subscripts n and s refer to
the nanofluid and nanoparticles respectively.

The overall heat transfer coefficient (U), logarithmic
mean temperature difference and heat transfer surface
area were related with heat transfer, which is given as

Figure 5 Schematic of the experimental setup
Q = UA T
LMTD
(5)

Where, the log mean temperature difference is shown in
the following equation.
(6)
Re = and Pr = (7)
Where Re denotes Reynolds number and Pr denotes
Prandtl number.
The pump power consumption of the fluid is calculated
by using the formula,
N = p x V (8)
Where N represents the pump power consumption, p
represents the pressure drop in pascal, V represents the v
flow rate of the tube side flow kg/s.

6. REUSLTS AND DISCUSSION
In order to measure the overall heat transfer coefficients
of prepared Alumina/water nanofluid, a number of
experiments were conducted.


6.1 Effect on Heat Transfer
Figures 6 shows the relationship between the overall heat
transfer coefficient of Alumina/water nanofluid and
Peclet number for different volume concentrations with
and without wire coil insert. From the results obtained, it
was found that for a particular value of a Peclet number,
there was a substantial enhancement in the overall heat
transfer coefficient. From the graphs drawn, it was
inferred that there was an augmentation in the overall
heat transfer coefficient with an increase in volume
concentrations.

The overall heat transfer coefficient was increased by
12.6%, 20% and 25% for Alumina/water nanofluid when
the percentage of volume concentrations were increased
to 0.5, 1 and 1.5 respectively at a Pe of 3000, compared
to those of distilled water at full load.

Increase in Overall heat transfer coefficient was observed
when Alumina/water nanofluid was used with wire coil
insert. The overall heat transfer coefficient was increased
21

by 17%, 29.4% and 33.5% for Alumina/water nanofluid
when the volume concentrations were increased to 0.5%,
1% and 1.5 % respectively for wire coil insert at a Pe of
3000 with respect to that of distilled water at full load.
Owing to the thermal dispersion effect, the temperature
distribution flattened which made the temperature
difference between the fluid and tube wall steeper
resulting in the increase of heat transfer.

The reason for such enhancement in the overall heat
transfer coefficient may be attributed to the Brownian
motion of particles, particle exodus and rearrangement,
fraternization effects of particles near the wall, thermal
conductivity enrichment, morphology of the particle,
decline of boundary layer thickness and slow
development of boundary layer.
Peclet Number(Pe)
1000 1200 1400 1600 1800 2000 2200 2400 2600 2800 3000 3200
O
v
e
r
a
l
l

H
e
a
t

T
r
a
n
s
f
e
r

C
o
e
f
f
i
c
i
e
n
t
(
U
)
[
W
/
m
2
K
]
200
300
400
500
600
700
Water
0.5%Alumina
1%Alumina
1.5%Alumina
water + Coil
0.5%Alumina+ Coil
1%Alumina + Coil
1.5%Alumina + Coil

Figure 6 Overall heat transfer coefficient of Alumina/
water nanofluid versus Peclet number with and without
coil insert for different volume concentrations.

The increase of overall heat transfer coefficient mainly
depends upon the increase of thermal conductivity and
decrease of thermal boundary layer thickness of the fluid.
The increase in thermal conductivity of the nanofluids
may be due to the increase in volume concentrations. The
movement of the nanoparticles from the region closer to
the tube wall towards the centre of the tube of the shell
and tube heat exchanger may be the reason for reduction
in thermal boundary layer thickness. The reduction in
dynamic viscosity of the nanofluid in the region nearer to
the wall may also be one of the reason for the reduction
in thermal boundary layer thickness.

Additional enhancement of Overall heat transfer
coefficient may be observed, because of the wire coil
insert used at all Peclet numbers for laminar flow
condition. The heat transfer characteristics of nanofluids
with the aid of wire coil insert were found good when
compared to that of wire coil insert with water.

These results clearly portrait the fact that these
increments in overall heat transfer coefficient are more
when compared to the overall heat transfer coefficient of
nanofluid with exchanger tubes without wire coil. The
difference in increment in overall heat transfer
coefficient with plain tube heat exchanger and tube with
coil heat exchanger may be mainly due to the distinctive
heat transfer mechanism for the two conditions. Wire coil
insert in the tube of the shell and tube heat exchanger
leads to the irregular and random motion of the
nanoparticles, which in turn increases the energy
transferred rates with the two fluids.

From the above characteristics, it is understood that
Alumina/water nanofluid is apt for engine cooling
systems due to their capability to respond quickly to
temperature changes allowing for the dissipation of more
heat, with the usage of less coolants, in a shorter period
of time.

6.2 Effect on Pumping Power
Nanofluids are developed with the aim of obtaining an
enhanced heat transfer without significant increase in
pumping power for successful implementation in realistic
projects. Under laminar flow conditions the pumping
power of Alumina/water nanofluid in a plain tube and
one with the aid of a wire coil insert was experimentally
measured. Figure 7 showed that the pumping power of
the Alumina/water nanofluid was nearly equal to that of
water for the same Peclet number. From the experimental
results, no substantial enhancement in pumping power of
the nanofluid was found when compared with that of
distilled water. This showcased the fact that that
nanofluids with lower lower alumina concentration will
not have a significant effect on pumping power. With the
use of wire coil insert, the tube side of shell and tube heat
exchanger increases the pumping power by 13.17%.
Although the pumping power requirement of the
nanofluids in the wire coil insert will not be appreciably
increased.
Peclet Number (Pe)
1000 1200 1400 1600 1800 2000 2200 2400 2600 2800 3000 3200

P
o
w
e
r

C
o
n
s
u
m
p
t
i
o
n

1.0
1.5
2.0
2.5
3.0
3.5
4.0
4.5
5.0
Water
0.5%Alumina
0.5%Alumina+Coil
1.0%Alumina+Coil
1.5%Alumina+Coil

Figure 7 Pumping power of Alumina / water nanofluid
against Peclet number with coil insert for different
percentages of volume concentrations.



22

7. CONCLUSIONS
During the present experimental study, the overall heat
transfer of Alumina/water nanofluids in a shell and tube
heat exchanger with wire coil insert was studied. A
number of tests were conducted for different percentages
of volume concentration and a variety of Peclet numbers.

The thermophysical properties such as thermal
conductivity and dynamic viscosity were measured as per
procedure. The measured values agreed well with the
published results and it was found that the nanoparticles
in the nanofluid largely influenced the properties of the
base fluid. From the measured values it was found that
the models available in the published work for the
prediction of thermophysical properties do not always
provide accurate results.

The heat transfer experimental results for nanofluids with
the aid of a wire coil insert indicate that the heat transfer
characteristics of nanofluids increases significantly with
Peclet number when compared to that of the results
obtained using plain tube. The influence of nanoparticles
in the base fluid and wire coil insert caused a significant
increase in the heat transfer performance. This ultimately
led to a higher heat transfer coefficient being obtained
when compared to that of the base fluid at the same
Peclet number.

The overall heat transfer coefficients were increased by
17%, 29.4% and 33.5% for volume concentration
percentages of 0.5, 1 and 1.5 of Alumina/water
nanofluids respectively for wire coil insert at Pe = 3000
compared to that of distilled water at full load. There was
significant increase of about 13% in the pumping power
for wire coil insert, when compared to that of the
pumping power obtained with distilled water.

From the above characteristics, we can presume that
Alumina/water nanofluid is apt for engine heat
exchanging systems due to their capability to respond
quickly to temperature changes allowing for the
dissipation of more heat, using less coolant, in a shorter
period of time.

8. ERROR ANALYSIS
Experimental uncertainty was calculated using Kline and
McClintock. While carrying out the error analysis,
probable uncertainties involved in the measurement of
various parameters are taken into consideration. To
verify the repeatability of the experiments, some runs
were repeated later which yielded good results. The
calculations made showed that the uncertainties taking
part in the measurements were approximately 4% for
overall heat transfer coefficient and 8% for Peclet
number respectively.

8.1 Derivation for Overall Heat Transfer Coefficient
and Peclet Number


(9)

(10)

(11)


(12)

(13)

Where,


(14)


(15)


(16)

(17)

(18)

(19)

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3
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