One of the significant problems plaguing regenerator designs is seal leakage resulting in a reduction of thermal efficiency. This paper describes the preliminary design and analysis of a new regenerative heat-exchanger concept, called a modular regenerator, that promises to provide improved seal-leakage performance. The modular regenerator concept consists of a ceramic-honeycomb matrix discretized into rectangular blocks, called modules. Separating the matrix into modules substantially reduces the transverse sealing lengths and substantially increases the longitudinal sealing lengths as compared with typical rotary designs. Potential applications can range from small gas-turbine engines for automotive applications to large stationary gas turbines for industrial power generation. Descriptions of two types of modular regenerators are presented including sealing concepts. Results of seal leakage analysis for typical modular regenerators sized for a small gas-turbine engine (120 kW) predict leakage rates under one percent for most seal-clearance heights.

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