Thermomechanical Behavior of Polymer Composite Heat Exchangers
Robinson, Franklin Lee
Bruck, Hugh A
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Industrial cooling with seawater, particularly at elevated temperature and salinity, shortens the useful lives of conventional metallic heat exchangers. Cost effective, corrosion-resistant heat exchangers are required to fully utilize available saline water resources. Polymer composites, which use carbon fibers for thermal and mechanical reinforcement, are a promising material for such heat exchangers. The present thesis provides a characterization and thermomechanical analysis of heat exchangers fabricated using thermally conductive polymers. The change in mechanical properties resulting from exposure to saltwater at elevated temperature is characterized for raw and reinforced polymers. Then, thermal performance of such heat exchangers is compared to that of heat exchangers fabricated from conventional corrosion-resistant materials. Finally, the mechanical and combined thermomechanical response of such heat exchangers to conditions typical of LNG operations is studied and compared to that of heat exchangers fabricated from conventional corrosion-resistant materials.