A Fully Developed Flow Thermofluid Model for Topology Optimization of 3D-Printed Air-Cooled Heat Exchangers

Jan Hendrik Klaas Haertel, Gregory F. Nellis

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Abstract

In this work, density-based topology optimization is applied to the design of the air-side surface of dry-cooled power plant condensers. A topology optimization model assuming a steady-state, thermally and fluid dynamically fully developed internal flow is developed and used for this application. The conductance of the heat exchanger is maximized for a prescribed pressure drop and prescribed air-side temperature change across the heat exchanger. Polymer with infilled thermally conducting metal filaments is considered as the heat exchanger material which allows cost effective additive manufacturing techniques to be used to fabricate the obtained designs. Parametric studies are presented that analyze the effect of the material thermal conductivity and the heat exchanger unit cell height on the system’s performance. The designs obtained from topology optimization are benchmarked against a simple optimized slot channel model in order to demonstrate the superior performance of the topology optimized designs. Thus, this work demonstrates the usefulness of topology optimization to fully exploit the design freedom afforded by additive manufacturing technologies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalApplied Thermal Engineering
Volume119
Pages (from-to)10-24
ISSN1359-4311
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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