Polymer heat exchangers (PHXs) have received considerable attention since their invention more than 40 years ago due to their corrosion resistance, low density and low manufacturing cost. New polymer composites with higher strengths, thermal conductivities and thermal stability promise to bridge the performance gap between polymers and corrosion resistant metals. In the present study, PHX components were injection molded using thermally enhanced polyamide 12 resin and assembled into a crossflow finned-plate heat exchanger prototype. The prototype was implemented in an air-to-water experimental test apparatus and the heat transfer results were compared to an analytical model. This comparison confirmed that a polymer composite heat exchanger (PCHX) can offer significantly enhanced heat transfer relative to a pure polymer. A thermomechanical finite element model of the PCHX was developed and validated using experimental results. At fluid pressures near ambient, the heat transfer rate of the PCHX was 28% less than could be attained with an identical titanium heat exchanger. As fluid pressures increased, the through wall conduction resistance had a larger effect on heat transfer rate, reducing the performance of the PCHX relative to the titanium heat exchanger. Stress analysis of the thermally enhanced PCHX revealed that the stresses due to pressure loading were more sensitive to heat exchanger geometry, while the stresses due to thermal loading were more sensitive to material property anisotropy.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.