At HiETA Technologies we specialise in the design and manufacture of thermal management systems and lightweight components through the use of Additive Manufacturing (AM). By creating components through metallic AM, the time from concept generation to manufacture is greatly reduced. As importantly, we are able to create complex geometries and lattice structures to make lighter and more efficient components, using space more efficiently than conventional manufacturing. This article presents a brief case study on one of our heat exchanger designs, and the use of AM to integrate what would be traditionally multiple parts into one AM component. The work is collaborative research and development with Delta Motorsport under the Innovate UK funded Selective Laser Melting for Micro Turbines (SLAMMIT) project number 101476.
As with every component designed at HiETA, the process began with requirements definition; to design a high temperature heat exchanger to be used in conjunction with a micro gas turbine system. From this, initial concepts and calculations were derived. Due to the available design envelope, an annular form of heat exchanger was most suitable. AM allows us the freedom to create a more complex annular design, without adding manufacturing complexity and cost. The use of AM also enables us to incorporate complex performance enhancing features within the heat exchanger core. CFD was used heavily in order to create complex flow paths promoting heat transfer whilst managing the pressure drop within acceptable limits. Combining these toolsets, a detailed design of the heat exchanger core was created in CAD.
In order to ultimately validate the suitability of the design, physical testing will be carried out. This requires the heat exchanger core to interface with test rig componentry in such a way that the end use system running conditions are emulated. To do this, complex manifolds were designed where CFD was used to tailor the geometry implemented in order to ensure good flow distribution. FEA was also undertaken to ensure the structural integrity of the component, given the high temperatures it will be running at. AM enables us to blend in these manifolds with the core design in a way that is not possible with other manufacturing techniques. We have created one integrated component, with the geometry tailored specifically to the set of requirements, where previously an assembly of multiple parts would have been required.
The next stage in the development cycle will be the manufacture of the component. After performing various quality assurance activities, the component will then be tested at system level running conditions and the performance of the unit analysed in detail.
With the use of AM, we are able to create novel concepts and integrate these within a wider system more efficiently. As highlighted through this case study, we apply a variety of Engineering Capabilities to validate the components fitness for purpose and ensure a robust product is delivered.
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