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John O | January 2018

New Zealand professors using 3-D printing to make heat exchangers

two professors from the university of canterbury (uc) in christchurch, new zealand, conan fee and dr. tim huber, were recently awarded one of the five prizes in the annual uc tech jumpstart competition for using 3-d printing to create high-performance heat exchangers.


uc academics dr. tim huber (left) and professor conan fee have come up with original technology to create high-performance heat exchangers. (university of canterbury)


the competition awards $20,000 over six months to “take innovative research towards commercial reality,” according to an article on the university website.


by using 3-d printing to fabricate the heat exchangers, the professors have been able to save on space and weight without affecting overall performance. also, 3-d printing has allowed for heat exchangers to be built with innovative geometries that go beyond the traditional cylindrical or rectangular shapes.


the article noted, “the saving of space and weight – and therefore cost – will allow for smaller electronic devices, faster and more fuel-efficient vehicles, smaller footprints for home heating or cooling, and prevent laptops from overheating while placed on your lap.”


professor fee said, ““the growth of 3d printing for new applications is exponential and it is stimulating a huge set of opportunities for new designs that were not previously possible. our 3d-printed porous heat exchangers are an example of something that cannot be made by conventional technologies but is now possible, expanding our thinking and potentially growing innovation in new zealand.”


the new funding will allow the professors to bring in research assistants and us of a 3-d printer for manufacturing the heat exchangers from stainless steel or titanium.

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