Effects of Metal Foam Porosity, Pore Size, and Ligament Geometry on Fluid Flow

[+] Author and Article Information
Beshoy Morkos

Florida Institute of Technology, 150 West University Blvd., Melbourne, FL, 32901, USA

Surya Venkata Sumanth Dochibhatla

Florida Institute of Technology, 150 West University Blvd., Melbourne, FL, 32901, USA

Joshua Summers

Clemson University, 203 Fluor Daniel Building, Clemson, SC, 29634, USA

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4039302 History: Received July 06, 2017; Revised November 06, 2017


This paper presents an experimental study of air flow through open cell metal foams for use in thermal energy dissipation. The goal of this research is to identify the optimum configuration of metal foam design parameters for maximum flow. Four foam blocks were used in this partial factorial study, representing a range of design parameters: material (Copper and Aluminum), pore size (5-10 pores per inch), and relative density (e = 0.875 - 0.952). A series of wind tunnel tests were performed to measure the velocity of air flowing through the foam as a function of the free stream air velocity, ranging from 0 to 17.4 mph (7.5 m/s). Results indicated small pore sizes and larger densities decreased the amount of airflow through the foam. However, one foam sample produced results that did not fit this trend. Further investigation found this was likely due to the differences in the cross-sectional geometry of the foam ligaments. The ligament geometry of metal foams is affected by density and manufacturing method. The cross-section shape of the ligaments was found to vary from a convex triangular shape to a triangle shape with concave surfaces, increasing the amount of drag in the airflow through the sample. Multinomial logit regression was performed on the data to analyze the effects of the design parameters on velocity loss. Results indicate that effect of Porosity on velocity loss is significant, and that of ppi is insignificant.

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