Does fluting of the periphery of the barrel assist in cooling or is it purely ornamental?
What effect will fluting have on the stability of the barrel?
If fluting is benifical, which configuration of fluting will provide the best barrel cooling, stability, and goemetric strenth?
Any time you increase the surface area of the barrel it will aid in cooling. The degree of cooling will depend on how aggressive the fluting pattern. A pattern that is shallow or ornamental will do little to help cool the barrel. A deep flute will aid cooling to a greater degree.
The deeper the fluting pattern the greater the amount of stress induced into the steel.
The best pattern to aid in cooling a barrel is one the runs parallel to the bore.