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Research Papers

Diffusion-Welded Microchannel Heat Exchanger for Industrial Processes

[+] Author and Article Information
Piyush Sabharwall

e-mail: Piyush.Sabharwall@inl.gov

Michael G. McKellar

Idaho National Laboratory,
P.O. Box 1625, MS 3860,
Idaho Falls, ID 83415-3860

Contributed by the Heat Transfer Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF THERMAL SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING APPLICATIONS. Manuscript received May 1, 2012; final manuscript received June 21, 2012; published online March 18, 2013. Assoc. Editor: Zahid Ayub.

J. Thermal Sci. Eng. Appl 5(1), 011009 (Mar 18, 2013) (12 pages) Paper No: TSEA-12-1063; doi: 10.1115/1.4007578 History: Received May 01, 2012; Revised June 21, 2012

The goal of next generation reactors is to increase energy efficiency in the production of electricity and provide high-temperature heat for industrial processes. The efficient transfer of energy for industrial applications depends on the ability to incorporate effective heat exchangers between the nuclear heat transport system and the industrial process. The need for efficiency, compactness, and safety challenge the boundaries of existing heat exchanger technology. Various studies have been performed in attempts to update the secondary heat exchanger that is downstream of the primary heat exchanger, mostly because its performance is strongly tied to the ability to employ more efficient industrial processes. Modern compact heat exchangers can provide high compactness, a measure of the ratio of surface area-to-volume of a heat exchange. The microchannel heat exchanger studied here is a plate-type, robust heat exchanger that combines compactness, low pressure drop, high effectiveness, and the ability to operate with a very large pressure differential between hot and cold sides. The plates are etched and thereafter joined by diffusion welding, resulting in extremely strong all-metal heat exchanger cores. After bonding, any number of core blocks can be welded together to provide the required flow capacity. This study explores the microchannel heat exchanger and draws conclusions about diffusion welding/bonding for joining heat exchanger plates, with both experimental and computational modeling, along with existing challenges and gaps. Also, presented is a thermal design method for determining overall design specifications for a microchannel printed circuit heat exchanger for both supercritical (24 MPa) and subcritical (17 MPa) Rankine power cycles.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Heat exchanger design framework

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Fig. 2

Printed circuit heat exchanger [3]

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Fig. 3

Compact microchannel (PCHE) compared to conventional type shell and tube heat exchanger [3]

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Fig. 4

Stages of diffusion welding [2]

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Fig. 5

(a) Vacuum hot press at oregon state university used for diffusion welding of 2 × 2 in. stacks for INL programs and (b) stack of sheet material after welding shows measurement and control thermocouples

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Fig. 6

Gleeble system: (a) general view of the Gleeble system with a specimen in it and (b) Gleeble principle of operation: specimens are gripped in water-cooled copper jaws, heated by Joule heating and feedback from welded thermocouple

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Fig. 7

Comparison of experimental and modeling data for Alloy N at 1150 °C

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Fig. 8

Comparison of model and experimental data using scanning electron microscopy/energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy analyses for diffusion-bonded specimen comprised of Alloy 800H, 15 lm of nickel foil filler, and Alloy 800H for 3600 s at 5 MPa and 1150 °C

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Fig. 9

Comparison of model and experimental compositions for diffusion weld of Alloy 617 for 3 h at 1150 °C and 15 μm foil interlayer

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Fig. 10

Detail description for PCHE (counter-flow arrangement)

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Fig. 11

Channel arrangement of PCHE [23,34-23,34]

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