Developing heat exchangers using additive manufacturing methods
The project InStaf aims to develop new and complex heat exchangers and reflective structures using additive manufacturing (AM) methods. These new manufacturing methods have great potential to be used in many industrial and technological applications. In practice, it is common that the boundaries and deficiencies of different manufacturing methods are discovered after the parts have been built. In the use case of heat exchangers, AM could enable the building of complex structures and provide other advantages.
The project includes the development of more efficient heat exchangers by increasing their power density and shaping their contours to match the surrounding system. By qualifying silicon carbide (SiC) for additive manufacturing, the vision of the research is to significantly increase the maximum operating temperature of heat exchangers to 1500 °C and to drastically reduce their weight. The development of metallisation concepts for additively manufactured, SiC-based parts ensures that the new types of heat exchangers can be integrated into conventional systems (connecting ceramic heat exchangers to metal pipework). To generate the required CAD data, new design methods are developed based on special mathematical algorithms and are then tested in the manufacturing process of heat exchanger prototypes.
The project also aims to determine the boundaries in each AM method in order to estimate whether other applications are feasible in future. The results yielded by the investigation of the boundaries show where there is potential room for improvement. These boundaries can be pushed in future projects in order to improve the methods.
By manufacturing optimised structures using polymeric, metallic and ceramic materials, heat exchangers can be developed for different environments and application temperatures and new knowledge on the boundaries of different AM methods can be acquired.
The project consortium includes the following companies and research institutions:
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