Design of Thermal Systems Using Topology Optimization

Research output: ResearchPh.D. thesis – Annual report year: 2018

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The goalof this thesis is to apply topology optimization to the design of differentthermal systems such as heat sinks and heat exchangers in order to improve thethermal performance of these systems compared to conventional designs. Thedesign of thermal systems is a complex task that has traditionally relied onexperience, intuition, and trial and error approaches.  Topology optimization, in contrast, allowsfor a systematic optimization of such systems and the identification ofunintuitive and unexpected geometries. Both numerical optimizations and, to alesser extent, experimental validations of optimized designs are presentedwithin this thesis.  The maincontribution of the thesis is the development of several numerical optimizationmodels that are applied to different design challenges within thermalengineering. 

Topology optimization isapplied in an industrial project to design the heat rejection system of arobotic downhole oil well intervention tool and an optimized prototype is builtthat can operate in environments of 200° C instead of 175° C, opening anew market for the company. A similar model is used in a different project tooptimize the heat sink of a commercial tablet. The design of 3D printeddry-cooled power plant condensers using a simpliffed thermouid topology optimizationmodel is presented in another study. A benchmarking of the optimized geometriesagainst a conventional heat exchanger design is conducted and the topologyoptimized designs show a superior performance. A thermouid topologyoptimization heat sink model is applied to the design of forced convectionair-cooled heat sinks. Two topology optimized designs are exemplarilybenchmarked against a size optimized parallel fin heat sink and an up to 13%lower thermal resistance is found to be realized by the topology optimization.The design of cross-ow heat exchangers using thermouid topology optimization ispresented in another work. This novel approach can explicitly solve the NavierStokes equations and capture the heat transfer in both uids at a lowcomputational cost.

Lastly,the fabrication and experimental validation of different topology optimized heattransfer devices is summarized. The developed robotic downhole tool prototypeis successfully tested in the laboratory under conditions similar to those inboreholes. Two optimized commercial tablet heat sinks are manufactured, mountedin the device, and experimentally compared to an unoptimized heat sink.Moreover, the fabrication and experimental benchmarking of 3D optimized naturalconvection heat sinks against conventional heat sink designs is presented.  Investment casting using 3D stereolithographyprinted patterns is used to fabricate different heat sink designs and thistechnology is demonstrated to be promising for the fabrication of topologyoptimized metal parts.

Original languageEnglish
PublisherTechnical University of Denmark (DTU)
Number of pages168
ISBN (Print)978-87-92986-73-3
StatePublished - 2018
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