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Additively manufactured heat exchangers: a review on opportunities and challenges

Abstract

Heat exchangers (HXs) are crucial engineering components for thermal management. The broad range of applications and the current limits of traditional manufacturing techniques have directed designers and researchers to utilize additive manufacturing (AM) technologies to open a new chapter in HX design and development. AM has created a world of opportunity to redesign HXs in pioneering forms, shapes, and sizes. The outstanding advantages of AM-enabled HXs include optimized geometries with enhanced surfaces, controlled surface roughness, fully controlled and organized porous structures, and eliminating the need for weld or braze. On the other hand, there are certain challenges to overcome in order to fully grasp the benefits of AM technologies. This thorough review study intends to highlight and elaborate the challenges and opportunities in design and manufacturing of HXs. In addition, part of this study is dedicated to investigate the experimental characterization of additively manufactured HXs.

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Acknowledgments

We would like to thank our colleagues at Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology and Advanced Digital Design and Fabrication Lab at the University of Massachusetts Amherst for their professional insights and suggestions.

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Correspondence to Seyed A. Niknam.

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Niknam, S.A., Mortazavi, M. & Li, D. Additively manufactured heat exchangers: a review on opportunities and challenges. Int J Adv Manuf Technol 112, 601–618 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00170-020-06372-w

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Keywords

  • Heat exchanger
  • Additive manufacturing
  • Selective laser melting
  • Pin fin arrays
  • Surface roughness
  • Friction factor