Thermal management is a ubiquitous and critical engineering challenge for a broad range of applications, including combustion engines, high power electronics and chemical processing. However, conventional heat exchanger solutions are often static with limited ability to adaptively modulate heat transfer. Folding concepts from the ancient art form of origami could potentially address these challenges by providing large conducting surfaces that can also spatially reconfigure to regulate the flow and temperature field interactions with the heat transferring medium. In this study, trigonometric and nonlinear mechanical analysis techniques are applied to origami channel designs based on the “waterbomb” and Miura-ori unit cell to characterize the geometric properties of the structures as a function of folding. Both channels demonstrate a large range of flow control, with potentially enhanced mixing in the “waterbomb” channel, due to an axially varying cross-section. The results show promise for the use of origami-based heat exchanger designs for both improved passive and active control of heat transfer.

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