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Research Papers: Heat Exchangers

J. Heat Transfer. 2019;141(9):091801-091801-9. doi:10.1115/1.4042701.

In a conventional continuous annealing line, the energy supplied to steel strip during heating is not recovered while cooling it. Therefore, an alternative heat transfer technology for energy efficient continuous annealing of steel was developed. This technology enables reusing the heat extracted during cooling of the strip in the heating part of the process. This is achieved by thermally linking the cooling strip to the heating strip via multiple rotating heat pipes. In this context, the dynamic simulation of a full heat pipe assisted annealing line is performed. The dynamic simulation consists of the interaction of computational building blocks, each comprising of a rotating heat pipe and strip parts wrapped around the heat pipe. The simulations are run for different installation configurations and operational settings, with the heat pipe number varying between 50 and 100 and with varying strip line speed and dimensions. The heat pipes are sized to be 0.5 m in diameter and 3 m in length. The simulation results show that the equipment is capable of satisfying the thermal cycle requirements of annealing both at steady-state and during transition between steady-states following changes in boundary conditions. With this concept, energy savings of up to 70% are feasible.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Heat Transfer. 2019;141(9):091802-091802-5. doi:10.1115/1.4041708.

Heat pipe characteristics are linked to the surface properties of the diabatic surfaces, and, in the evaporator, surface properties influence both the onset boiling temperature (TONB) and the critical heat flux (CHF). In this work, the effect of surface wettability in pool boiling heat transfer is studied in order to understand if there could be a path to increment heat pipe thermal performance. This work analyzes the effects of surface wettability on boiling (tested fluid is pure water) and proposes a new super-hydrophobic polymeric coating (De Coninck et al., 2017, “Omniphobic Surface Coatings,” Patent No. WO/2017/220591), which can have a very important effect in improving the heat pipe start-up power load and increasing the thermal performance of heat pipes when the flux is lower than the critical heat flux. The polymeric coating is able to reduce the TONB (−11% from 117 °C to about 104 °C) compared with the uncoated surfaces, as it inhibits the formation of a vapor film on the solid–liquid interface, avoiding CHF conditions up to maximum wall temperature (125 °C). This is realized by the creation of a heterogeneous surface with superhydrophobic surface (SHS) zones dispersed on top of a hydrophilic surface (stainless steel surface). The proposed coating has an outstanding thermal resistance: No degradation of SH properties of the coating has been observed after more than 500 thermal cycles.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Heat Transfer. 2019;141(9):091803-091803-6. doi:10.1115/1.4042511.

Heat pipes, commonly used for heat dissipation and thermal management in small electronic and communication devices, are regarded as an excellent solution. Heat pipes must be in surface rather than line contact to be applied to the module and system-level heat dissipation package. As such, a round copper heat pipe is transformed into a plate-like shape through a secondary press process. In this study, an extrusion structure is designed to be sloped to solve the difficulty of making it relatively thin compared with the large area of the plate structure. Specifically, substantial partitions separating the working fluid flow space in the plate-type heat pipe are designed to be inclined at 45 deg, and the extruded envelope is developed to obtain the desired total thickness through the secondary press process. The capillary structure is inserted and positioned within the envelope prior to the secondary press process. In this study, an aluminum flat heat pipe (AFHP) with 0.95 mm total thickness, 150 mm total length, and a capillary structure with braided or carbon wire bundles added thereto was designed and manufactured. Performance test results indicated that the heat transfer performance of the AFHP with inclined wall did not show any deterioration characteristic compared with the AFHP with a normal vertical wall. The isothermal characteristics and heat transfer rate of the AFHP with Cu braid wick were superior to those of AFHP with a simple rectangular groove wick. By contrast, when the carbon wire bundle is added in the Cu braid, the isothermal characteristic was enhanced twice, and the heat transfer rate was 15.5 W by improving approximately 42% under the conditions that inclination angle is −90 deg and the evaporator temperature does not exceed 110 °C.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Heat Transfer. 2019;141(9):091804-091804-10. doi:10.1115/1.4042008.

The numerical simulation was carried out to investigate mechanism of the heat transfer enhancement in the fin-and-tube heat exchangers. As known, the vortex generators (VGs) were widely used to improve the thermal performance with bad flow resistance characteristics and led to bad comprehensive performance. This paper aims to expound the mechanism of thermal hydraulic characteristics and explore the effect of VGs position on the comprehensive performance. Three types of fins (type 1, type 2, and type 3) were discussed in this paper. The j factor, f factor, and performance evaluation (PEC) of three types of VGs in different positions were discussed and compared. Based on the numerical results, a detailed description of the effect of three types of VGs on the heat transfer performance and flow resistance characteristics was presented at different Reynolds number in the range between 1300 and 2000. In addition, local velocity distribution, local temperature distribution, and local pressure drop distribution were analyzed and discussed. And the effect of VG angle on the thermal performance and flow resistance was presented. It can be concluded that the main heat transfer occurred in the region before the tube, and the wake region behind the tube was harmful to improve the thermal performance and reduce the flow resistance. Besides, VG in the wake region was obviously beneficial to the enhancement of the thermal performance with less energy loss.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Heat Transfer. 2019;141(9):091805-091805-8. doi:10.1115/1.4043956.

Recently, a novel temperature control technique utilizing the unique thermohydraulic operating principles of the pressure-controlled loop heat pipes (PCLHPs) was proposed and proved its effectiveness, by which a faster and more stable temperature control was possible by means of the pressure control. However, due to its recent emergence, the proposed hydraulic temperature control technique has not been fully characterized in terms of the various operating parameters including the sink temperature. In this work, the effect of the sink temperature on the loop heat pipe (LHP)-based hydraulic temperature control was investigated to improve the stability of the proposed technique. Start-up characteristics and transient responses of the operating temperatures to different pressure steps and sink temperatures were examined. From the test results, it was found that there was a minimum sink temperature, which ensured a steady-state operation after the start-up and a stable hydraulic temperature control with the increasing pressure steps, due to the unstable balance between the heat leak and the liquid subcooling in the compensation chamber at low sink temperatures. In addition, the range of the stable hydraulic temperature control was extended with the increasing coolant temperature due to the decreased heat leak, which resulted in the increased pressure difference between the evaporator and the compensation chamber. Therefore, it was found and suggested that for a stable hydraulic temperature control in an extended range, it was necessary to operate the PCLHP at higher sink temperatures than the low limit.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Heat Transfer. 2019;141(9):091806-091806-6. doi:10.1115/1.4041953.

This paper describes the experimental investigations conducted on a closed loop pulsating heat pipe (CLPHP) for assessing the thermal performance. The pulsating heat pipe has a single closed loop made of copper. The working fluids used are water and titanium dioxide nanofluids with varying concentrations of TiO2 nanoparticles (1.5% and 1%) on weight basis. The TiO2 particles are mixed in water to form a stable suspension using a sonicator. The heat input is varied between 40 W and 100 W in steps of 20 W. All experiments are conducted in the bottom heating mode (evaporator at the top) in the vertical and horizontal orientations. The parameters considered for evaluating the thermal performance are the temperature difference between evaporator and condenser, thermal resistance, heat transfer coefficient, and thermal conductivity. The results of the investigation reveal that the vertical orientation and increase in nanoparticle concentration favors better heat transfer performance of the single closed loop pulsating heat pipe.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Heat Transfer. 2019;141(9):091807-091807-9. doi:10.1115/1.4042367.

The thermal performance and operating modi of a flat-plate closed-loop pulsating heat pipe (PHP) are experimentally observed. The PHP is manufactured through computer numerical controlled milling and vacuum brazing of stainless steel 316 L. Next to a plain closed-loop PHP, also one that promotes fluid circulation through passive Tesla-type valves was developed. Each channel has a 2 × 2 mm2 square cross section, and in total, 12 parallel channels fit within the 50 × 200 mm2 effective area. During the experimental investigation, the power input was increased from 20 W to 100 W, while cooling was performed using a thermo-electric cooler (TEC) and thermostat bath. Three working fluids were assessed: water, methanol, and ammonia. The PHP was charged with a 40% filling ratio. Thermal resistances were obtained for different inclination angles. It was observed that the PHP operates well in vertical evaporator-down orientation but not horizontally. Moreover, experiments show that the minimum operating orientation is between 15 and 30 deg. Two operating modi are observed, namely, the thermosyphon modus, without excessive fluctuations, and the pulsating modus, in which both the temperature and pressure responses oscillate frequently and violently. Overall thermal resistances were determined as low as 0.15 K/W (ammonia) up to 0.28 and 0.48 K/W (water and methanol, respectively) at a power input of 100 W in the vertical evaporator-down orientation. Infrared thermography was used to visualize the working fluid behavior within the PHPs. Infrared observations correlated well with temperature and pressure measurements. The experimental results demonstrated that the developed flat-plate PHP design, suitable for high-volume production, is a promising candidate for electronics cooling applications.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Heat Transfer. 2019;141(9):091808-091808-8. doi:10.1115/1.4041952.

A low-cost, flexible pulsating heat pipe (PHP) was built in a composite polypropylene sheet consisting of three layers joint together by selective laser welding, to address the demand of heat transfer devices characterized by low weight, small unit thickness, low cost, and high mechanical flexibility. A thin, flexible, and lightweight heat pipe is advantageous for various aerospace, aircraft, and portable electronic applications where the device weight, and its mechanical flexibility are essential. The concept is to sandwich a serpentine channel, cut out in a polypropylene sheet and containing a self-propelled mixture of a working fluid with its vapor, between two transparent sheets of the same material; this results into a thin, flat enclosure with parallel channels hence the name “pulsating heat stripes” (PHS). The transient and steady-state thermal response of the device was characterized for different heat input levels and different configurations, either straight or bent at different angles. The equivalent thermal resistance was estimated by measuring the wall temperatures at both the evaporator and the condenser, showing a multifold increase of the equivalent thermal conductance with respect to solid polypropylene.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Heat Transfer. 2019;141(9):091809-091809-10. doi:10.1115/1.4043796.

A copper–water closed flat pulsating heat pipe (PHP), 3.4 m long and of inner diameter 4 mm, was manufactured and tested. This PHP aims both at homogenizing the temperature of a large aluminum plate, of surface area 150 × 420 mm2, and at lowering its mean temperature by transferring the heat to an adjacent heat sink of same dimensions. The PHP thermal resistance is measured at various heat transfer rates, condenser temperatures, and inclination angles. It decreases when the heat transfer rate increases or when the PHP is progressively tilted from the vertical unfavorable orientation to a favorable one. Resistance values as low as 0.04 K/W are measured. Whatever the conditions, a minimum heat input of 200 W is necessary for the correct start-up of the PHP. A map of the operating regimes—no-flow, oscillating, intermittent, and stable behavior—is proposed. Nonreproducibility effects are highlighted in tilted position, leading to different operating regimes at increasing and decreasing heat loads, but also more broadly depending on the history of the working operating conditions of the PHP. However, the concept proposed in this work is very promising for applications involving large heat source and heat sink.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Heat Transfer. 2019;141(9):091810-091810-9. doi:10.1115/1.4043183.

This paper presents a planar cooling strategy for rotating radar systems using heat pipe technology. The proposed design uses six 1 m long heat pipes in parallel oriented in an evaporator-down modus at an elevation angle of 85 deg. An analytical model based on conventional heat pipe limits is used to predict the performance taking into account both gravitational and centrifugal forces. The heat pipe array is mounted on a rotating platform of which both the mounting angle w.r.t. the rotational arm and rotational speed can be varied. The radial distance w.r.t. the rotational axis was set at 0.5 m. The setup was tested in an environmental chamber to simulate higher ambient temperatures as well. Moreover, measurements were conducted by varying the heat sink airflow rates. The performance was determined by the temperature gradient across the planar structure. Successful heat pipe operation and experimental performances were determined for a number of application parameters. At higher rotational speeds, the influence of centrifugal forces that may assist or hinder the working fluid circulation became discernible. For higher rotational frequencies, the mounting angle proved to be of (minor) influence on the performance in agreement with the developed model. The current design was validated for effective planar cooling of a rotating radar system for planar heat loads up to 1000 W. Temperature gradients across the planar structure remain below critical limits and overall thermal resistances from planar to ambient air conditions of 0.040 K/W and below were observed.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Heat Transfer. 2019;141(9):091811-091811-9. doi:10.1115/1.4043015.

This paper deals with vaporization heat transfer in a small diameter closed two-phase thermosyphon with a long evaporator and a short condenser, filled with water as operating fluid. The internal diameter of the evaporator is equal to 6.4 mm and the length-to-diameter ratio at the evaporator is equal to 166. A similar geometry is commonly used in vacuumed tube solar collectors. In the present investigation, the input power to the evaporator is provided by means of an electrical resistance wire wrapped around the external wall of the tube, while a water jacket is built at the condenser to reject the heat. The performance of the thermosyphon is described by using the wall temperature and the overall thermal resistance for different operating conditions: input power at the evaporator, cooling water temperature at the condenser, and inclination of the thermosyphon (30 deg, 60 deg, and 90 deg tilt angle to the horizontal plane). The present experimental data cover a range of heat flux between 1700 and 8000 W/m2 and saturation temperature between 28 °C and 72 °C. The vaporization heat transfer coefficients are compared with some correlations for closed two-phase thermosyphons displaying large disagreement. A new correlation is presented, which accurately predicts the present experimental values and other data by independent labs taken in closed two-phase thermosyphons, varying geometry and operating fluid (water, R134a, and ethanol).

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Design Innovation Papers

J. Heat Transfer. 2019;141(9):095001-095001-8. doi:10.1115/1.4042082.

In this paper is described the development and the experimental study of a flat plate pulsating heat pipe (FPPHP) built by means of metal additive manufacturing (AM). In the recent years, small/medium aerospace companies have gained interest in the development of small satellites. The small dimensions, coupled with the need for high-power devices for science and communications, increase the interest in thermally functional structures. The space business is characterized by a very small production lot, and custom designs from project to project. The AM exactly fits these needs and, in the past years, the use of this technology in aerospace projects has grown significantly. This paper, after a brief review of the pulsating heat pipe (PHP), focuses on the development and testing of a panel with an embedded closed-loop FPPHP built by means of metal AM technique. The article presents a trade-off analysis between the metal AM technologies available on the market; by means of the trade-off analysis, a design strategy is proposed by the authors. A comparison between available FPPHP results in literature and the three-dimensional (3D) printed structure will show the differences between the common subtractive technology and the innovative AM technique.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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