DESIGN AND EXPERIMENTAL CHARACTERIZATION OF METAL ADDITIVE MANUFACTURED HEAT EXCHANGERS FOR AEROSPACE APPLICATION
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High temperature heat exchangers are key to the success of emerging high-temperature, high-efficiency solutions in energy conversion, power generation and waste heat recovery applications. When applied to the aerospace applications, the main objective is to develop heat exchangers that can realize significant performance improvement in terms of gravimetric heat exchange density (kW/kg). In the present study, two air-to-air crossflow heat exchangers were designed, built and tested to determine their potential for high performance, pre-cooling heat exchanger for aircraft applications. A novel design based on manifold-microchannel technology was chosen as it provided localized and optimum distribution of the flow among the heat transfer surface micro channels, offering superior heat transfer performance and low pressure drops, when compared to conventional, state of the art heat exchangers for the chosen application. However, fabrication of the manifold microchannel design for high temperature with super alloys as the heat exchanger material presents serious manufacturing challenges fabrication techniques. To overcome this limit, direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) additive manufacturing technique was selected for the fabrication of the Ni-based superalloy manifold-microchannel heat exchangers in the present study. Extensive work was performed to characterize the printing capability of different metal 3D-printers in terms of printing orientation, printing accuracy and structure density. Based on the knowledge acquired, two units were printed, with overall size of 4”x4”x4” and 4.5”x4”x3.5” and fin thickness of 0.220 mm and 0.170 mm, respectively. The printed units were the largest additively printed, superalloy-based manifold-microchannel heat exchangers found in the literature. The experimental characterization was carried at high temperature (600°C) and the model prediction of the performance was updated to characterize the behavior of the heat exchangers in this operational conditions. Based on the experimental results, a gravimetric heat duty of 9.4 kW/kg for an effectiveness (ε) of 78% was achieved, which corresponds to an improvement of more than 50% compared to the conventional designs. The characterization of the performance at high temperature was then completed by analyzing the thermo-mechanical stress generated by the simultaneous presence of temperature gradient and pressures. The current study is the first to characterize the behavior of manifold-microchannel heat exchanger under high temperature in terms of performance prediction and thermo-mechanical analysis.