Researchers design extreme heat exchanger using metal 3D printing

Computer Tomography (CT) X-ray image of the tube-in-tube heat exchanger. Color indicates whether hot fluid (red) in the outer tube or cold fluid (blue) in the inner tube.
Credit: Hyunkyu Moon, Davis McGregor, Nenad Miljkovic and William P. King, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Demonstrating next-generation energy technology, researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign are using topology optimization and metal 3D printing to design ultra-compact, high-power heat exchangers.

Used in most major industries – including energy, water, manufacturing, transportation, construction, electronic, chemical, petrochemical, agriculture and aerospace – heat exchangers transfer thermal energy from one medium to another.

For decades, heat exchanger designs have remained relatively unchanged. Recent advancements in 3D printing allow the production of three-dimensional exchanger designs previously thought impossible. These new and innovative designs operate significantly more effectively and efficiently but require specific software tools and design methods to manufacture the high-performance devices.

Recognizing the need to unlock new, high-performing heat exchangers, Grainger College of Engineering researchers have developed software tools that enable new 3D heat exchanger designs.

“We developed shape optimization software to design a high-performance heat exchanger,” said William King, professor of Mechanical Science and Engineering at The Grainger College of Engineering and co-study leader. “The software allows us to identity 3D designs that are significantly different and better than conventional designs.”

The team started by studying a type of exchanger known as a tube-in-tube heat exchanger – where one tube is nested inside another tube. Tube-in-tube heat exchangers are commonly used in drinking water and building energy systems. Using a combination of the shape optimization software and additive manufacturing, the researchers designed fins (only made possible using metal 3D printing) internal to the tubes.

“We designed, fabricated and tested an optimized tube-in-tube heat exchanger,” said Nenad Miljkovic, associate professor of Mechanical Science and Engineering and co-study leader. “Our optimized heat exchanger has about 20 times higher volumetric power density than a current state-of-the-art commercial tube-in-tube device.”

With billions of heat exchangers in use worldwide today and even more attention placed on our need to reduce fossil fuel consumption, compact and efficient heat exchangers are increasing in demand, particularly in industries where heat exchanger size and mass significantly impacts performance, range and costs.

The article “Ultra-power-dense heat exchanger development through genetic algorithm design and additive manufacturing,” written by Hyunkyu Moon, Davis McGregor, Nenad Miljkovic and William P. King, is published in the journal Joule.

Research sponsored by the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Power Optimization of Electro-Thermal systems (POETS) and the International Institute for Carbon Neutral Energy Research (WPI-I2CNER).

Journal: Joule
Method of Research: Commentary/editorial
Subject of Research: Not applicable
Article Title: Ultra-power-dense heat exchanger development through genetic algorithm design and additive manufacturing
Article Publication Date: 9-Sep-2021

Media Contact

Chelsea Hamilton
University of Illinois Grainger College of Engineering
clhamil@illinois.edu
Office: 217-333-1474

Expert Contact

Dr. WIlliam King
University of Illinois Grainger College of Engineering
wpk@illinois.edu
Office: 217-244-3864

www.illinois.edu

Media Contact

Chelsea Hamilton
University of Illinois Grainger College of Engineering

All latest news from the category: Machine Engineering

Machine engineering is one of Germany’s key industries. The importance of this segment has led to the creation of new university degree programs in fields such as production and logistics, process engineering, vehicle/automotive engineering, production engineering and aerospace engineering among others.

innovations-report offers informative reports and articles covering technologies such as automation, motion, power train, energy, conveyor, plastics, lightweight construction, logistics/warehousing, measurement systems, machine tools and control engineering.

Back to home

Comments (0)

Write a comment

Newest articles

Switching on a superfluid

Exotic phase transitions unlock pathways to future, superfluid-based technologies. We can learn a lot by studying microscopic and macroscopic changes in a material as it crosses from one phase to…

Researchers use breakthrough method to answer key question about electron states

Scientists are working hard to engineer the properties of nanostructures, such as atoms and molecules, to realize efficient logic devices that can operate at the fundamental scale of matter –…

Scientists develop artificial intelligence method to predict anti-cancer immunity

Machine learning algorithms are shedding light on neoantigen T cell-receptor pairs. Researchers and data scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center and MD Anderson Cancer Center have developed an artificial intelligence…

Partners & Sponsors