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The Impact of Base Metal on the Thermal-Hydraulic Performance of Metal Foam Heat Exchanger for Cooling and Dehumidification Applications

[+] Author Affiliations
Kashif Nawaz

Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN

Anthony M. Jacobi

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL

Paper No. HT2017-4892, pp. V002T10A004; 10 pages
  • ASME 2017 Heat Transfer Summer Conference
  • Volume 2: Heat Transfer Equipment; Heat Transfer in Multiphase Systems; Heat Transfer Under Extreme Conditions; Nanoscale Transport Phenomena; Theory and Fundamental Research in Heat Transfer; Thermophysical Properties; Transport Phenomena in Materials Processing and Manufacturing
  • Bellevue, Washington, USA, July 9–12, 2017
  • Conference Sponsors: Heat Transfer Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5789-2
  • Copyright © 2017 by ASME


In the wake of utilization of novel materials in various thermal applications open cell metal foams have received attention due to their inherent properties such as large surface area to volume ratio and higher thermal conductivity. Additionally, complex tetradecahedron structure promotes mixing and makes them a good candidate for heat transfer applications. In this paper, a relative comparison has been made between the thermal-hydraulic performance of aluminum and copper metal foam heat exchangers with the same geometry under dry and wet operating conditions. Heat exchanger consisting of round tube with annular layer of metal foam have been considered. Experiments have been conducted using a closed-loop wind tunnel to measure the heat transfer performance and pressure drop. The impact of base metal (aluminum and copper) on the heat transfer rate has been evaluated at varying air flow rates and upstream relative humidity. It has been found that due to similar geometry (flow depth, face area, pore size) both aluminum and copper foam samples have comparable pressure drop under dry conditions. However, the pressure gradient was noticeably different for two samples under wet operating conditions. An obvious difference in heat transfer rate for aluminum and copper metal foam heat exchangers was observed under both dry and wet operating conditions. The findings have been explained in terms of the impact of the thermal conductivity of base metal and condensate retention.

Copyright © 2017 by ASME



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