Preliminary heat exchanger design relies heavily on correlations for overall heat transfer and pressure drop performance, particularly for heat transfer augmentation features such as fins. Extensive work has been performed by the research community to develop these correlations for the numerous designs. However, with the new technology of metal additive manufacturing and the resultant surface roughness, the traditional correlations and design considerations related to performance need to be adjusted. As a result, two metal additively manufactured offset-strip fin heat exchanger geometries with different fin spacing are studied for heat transfer and pressure drop performance and compared with traditional correlations. Deviations between the additively manufactured geometries and previous correlations for smooth fins are found, and are further amplified as the surface roughness to hydraulic diameter ratio is increased. Furthermore, the surface roughness from the additive process results in a constant friction factor behavior at high Reynolds numbers which is unlike behavior observed for conventionally manufactured fins. Considerations for both the laminar and turbulent flow regimes are needed for correct performance prediction. A final offset strip fin geometry with a change in the fin spacing every third of the way through the flow path is tested. This study found that the orientation of fin spacing, wider spaced to tightly spaced or tightly spaced to wider spaced, did not have a significant effect on pressure drop or heat transfer. However, the study found a method for predicting the performance which will become important as additive manufacturing increases complexity of heat exchanger designs.

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