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Simulation of Thermal Transport in Open-Cell Metal Foams: Effect of Periodic Unit Cell Structure

[+] Author Affiliations
Shankar Krishnan, Suresh V. Garimella, Jayathi Y. Murthy

Purdue University

Paper No. IMECE2006-14044, pp. 409-414; 6 pages
  • ASME 2006 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Heat Transfer, Volume 1
  • Chicago, Illinois, USA, November 5 – 10, 2006
  • Conference Sponsors: Heat Transfer Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4784-5 | eISBN: 0-7918-3790-4
  • Copyright © 2006 by ASME


Direct simulation of thermal transport in open-cell metal foams is conducted using different periodic unit cell geometries. The periodic unit cell structures are constructed by assuming the pore space to be spherical and subtracting the pore space from a unit cube of the metal. Different types of packing arrangement for spheres are considered - Body Centered Cubic, Face Centered Cubic, and the A15 lattice (similar to a Weaire-Phelan unit cell) - which give rise to different foam structures. Effective thermal conductivity, pressure drop and Nusselt number are computed by imposing periodic boundary conditions for aluminum foams saturated with air or water. The computed values compare well with existing experimental measurements and semi-empirical models for porosities greater than 80%. The effect of different foam packing arrangements on the computed thermal and fluid flow characteristics is discussed. The capabilities and limitations of the present approach are identified.

Copyright © 2006 by ASME



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