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Second Thermal and Fluids Engineering  Conference

ISSN: 2379-1748
ISBN: 978-1-56700-430-4

Thermal-Hydraulic Performance of Aluminum Foam Heat Exchangers with Varying Cellular Lattice Structures

Edward Kraft
Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77840, USA AI Engineering Building 205D, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77840, USA

Kevin Laux
University of Pittsburgh 3700 O'Hara St, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA Benedum 508, 3700 O'Hara St, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA

Albert To
University of Pittsburgh 3700 O'Hara St, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA Benedum 508, 3700 O'Hara St, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA

Mark L. Kimber
Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77840, USA AI Engineering Building 205D, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77840, USA

Abstract

Due to their large surface area to volume ratio, low density, and high strength structure, aluminum metal foams offer a promising application for heat exchangers. One significant design challenge of aluminum foam heat exchangers is optimizing the trade-off between heat transfer performance and pressure drop (i.e., pumping power). Previous experimental investigations successfully quantified the thermal hydraulic behavior of such heat exchangers based on foam porosity, but provide limited insight on the effects of varying cellular lattice structures within their samples. As a result, a CFD analysis using Star CCM+ is carried out for the thermal hydraulic behavior of aluminum foam heat exchangers made of 8 × 8 × 8 lattices based on relative density, unit cell geometry, and unit cell orientation. The k-ε model is utilized with applied boundary conditions taken from experiment data to describe the turbulent flow through the heat exchanger. A Grid Convergence Index (GCI) method is used for all models to estimate the discretization error for verification. Numerical results are compared to the experimental data for validation, and the samples are quantified and ranked based on thermal hydraulic performance.

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