A systematic approach applied in design of a micro heat exchanger

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The number of products benefiting from micro components in the market is increasing, and consequently, the demand for well-matched tools, equipment and systems with micro features is eventually increasing as well. During the design process of micro products, a number of issues appear which are inherent due to the down scaling or physical phenomena dominating in the micro range but negligible in the macro scale. In fact, some aspects in design for micro manufacturing are considerably different compared to the de- sign procedure taken at the macro level. Identifying the differences between design considerations at micro compared to macro scale, and defining potential guidelines based on them, provides an opportunity to modify the conventional design methodologies towards becoming micro specific. In this pa- per, the need for a micro-oriented approach for designing mi- cro products which has not been investigated hitherto studied. For this purpose, an additional step named “ Rules To Consider ” (RTC) is added to the conventional design method- ologies. This step is constituted based on the feedbacks gained during analyzing the different iterations of the design. The knowledge obtained during the design process of a micro product can be added to the RTC unit, and this unit becomes enriched progressively in design process of similar micro products and supplemented to the conventional design meth- odologies to be served as a micro-oriented design methodol- ogy. In order to present the application of RTC unit, the design process of a micro heat exchanger is investigated. Manufacturability and functional performance are considered as evaluation criteria, and the lessons learned from each de- sign iteration and evaluation are employed in the subsequent design proposals until an acceptable design is achieved. Thermal performance of the heat exchangers is evaluated using finite element (FE) simulation of the conjugate heat transfer. The design proposals are optimized in terms of geo- metrical dimensions, and a sensitivity analysis is conducted on the mass flow rate and heat generation power in the heat source. Finally, the designs with higher thermal performance and manufacturability are introduced. The result of the ther- mal analysis reveals the fact that the presence of the fins and modification of their dimensions as well as the constituent material for fabricating the micro heat exchanger do not sig- nificantly improve the thermal performance of the micro heat exchangers. This is an interesting outcome which can result in considerable reduction of the manufacturing costs by simpli- fying the geometrical design of the heat exchanger. The micro-specific design considerations which are extracted from the design process of the micro heat exchanger are added to the RTC unit and can be applied as guidelines in design pro- cess of any other micro heat exchanger. In other words, the current study can provide a useful guideline in design for manufacturing of micro products.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)1187-1195
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Design methodology
  • Micro manufacturing
  • Micro heat exchanger
  • Size effects
  • Design process


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