A computational analysis of heat transfer augmentation and flow characteristics due to artificial roughness in the form of ribs on a broad, heated wall of a rectangular duct for turbulent flow (Reynolds number range 3000-20,000, which is relevant in solar air heater) has been carried out. Shear stress transport k-ω turbulence model is selected by comparing the predictions of different turbulence models with experimental results available in the literature. A detailed analysis of heat transfer variation within inter rib region is done by using the selected turbulence model. The analysis shows that peak in local heat transfer coefficient occurs at the point of reattachment of the separated flow as observed experimentally. The results predict a significant enhancement of heat transfer in comparison to that for a smooth surface. There is a good matching between the predictions by SST k-ω and experimental results. In this work, nine different shapes of rib are examined using SST k-ω model and compared on the basis of heat transfer enhancement, friction characteristics and performance index considering heat transfer enhancement with the same pumping power. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.