Heat Exchanger lattices

Lattice Structures for Heat Exchangers

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 Self-supporting behaviour is the most desired characteristic for DFAM of cellular structures. In the present work, gyroid, star kagome and BCC cellular structures are evaluated for self-supporting behaviour using Materialise Magics software. The lattice designs of different sizes are 3D printed and visually examined for defects. The lattice designs are introduced into a smooth circular pipe. Conjugate heat transfer analysis is done for different Reynolds numbers (1193–10736) to study heat transfer and pressure drop characteristics.All the lattice designs show heat transfer enhancement and higher pressure drop with respect to smooth pipe. Among all lattice designs, gyroid shows the highest heat transfer enhancement and highest pressure drop.A micro-scale cross-flow heat exchanger is constructed from a hollow nickel microlattice structure, which is fabricated by conformally electroplating nickel onto a sacrificial polymer micro-lattice formed from self-propagating photopolymer waveguides.

 The periodic unit cell of the hollow nickel microlattice structure tested here includes lattice members with a diameter <1 mm and a nominal pore size <9 mm. The heat transfer performance of the micro-lattice-based heat exchanger is analysed in terms of thermal conductance per unit volume, which is equal to the value of overall heat transfer coefficient multiplied by surface area to volume ratio.

 Calculated values range from 0.84 to 1.58 W/cm3K for Reynolds number ranges of between 3400 ± 200 and 6500 ± 500 for hot water flow inside the hollow lattice members and 85 ± 6 and 240 ± 20 for cold water flow around the lattice members. Based on a developed correlation, the experimental heat transfer data is used to predict the thermal performance of larger and smaller micro-lattice-based heat exchangers.

As well as various micro-lattice feature dimensions that are tunable with the fabrication process (node-to-node spacing, inner diameter, etc.). The micro-lattice heat exchanger was tested under quasi-static compression and the results illustrate the multifunctional capability for load bearing and energy absorption applications. 

This work demonstrates a multifunctional heat exchanger with a fully-scalable fabrication process which is useful for size and weight constrained heat transfer applications, including those in the automotive and aerospace industries.

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