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John O | April 2019

Ultra-performance and highly-efficient heat exchangers fabricated with 3-D printing

By Josh Perry, Editor


GE Research (Niskayuna, N.Y.) announced that it is leading a $3.5 million project, along with partners at the University of Maryland and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), to develop a compact heat exchanger that can withstand temperatures as high as 900°C and pressures as high as 250 bar.


GE Research is leading a project to design a new, high-temperature heat exchanger with 3-D printing. (GE Research)


The UPHEAT project is funded through the Advanced Research Project Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) High-Intensity Thermal Exchanger through Materials and Manufacturing Processes (HITEMMP) program. Researchers are utilizing additive manufacturing techniques to achieve their goal of a highly-efficient heat exchanger for extreme conditions.


To build the new heat exchanger, GE engineers are using a novel nickel superalloy that is designed for high temperatures and is crack-resistant. University of Maryland researchers are working with GE to create biological shapes that will make the heat exchanger more efficient and ORNL researchers are providing corrosion resistance expertise to develop the materials for long-term use.


“When completed, the heat exchanger will enable increased thermal efficiency of indirect heated power cycles such as supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) Brayton power generation, reducing energy consumption and emissions,” the announcement explained. “In addition, high temperature capable heat exchangers offer new opportunities in advanced aerospace applications.”


The project is expected to last 2-1/2 years to demonstrate a fully-functioning, 3-D-printed heat exchanger.

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