In this paper, thermal and hydraulic performance of in-house made prototypes of water-to-air heat exchangers are experimentally investigated and compared to those of a compact heat exchanger, used in a commercial fan coil. The prototypes are built replacing the fins with aluminum foam surfaces characterized by a large porosity, higher than 96%. In order to evaluate the performance of the foam-based heat exchangers in a real-scale application, the geometry of the prototypes was based on that of the reference model and, moreover, experimental tests were performed placing the heat exchangers within the commercial cabinet, under the same fan power. Different bonding techniques were also tested to couple metal foams to copper tubes. Results show that similar hydraulic performance can be obtained with the foam-based heat exchangers, if compared to the commercial device. However, the large foam porosity accounts for a lower value of the surface-to-volume ratio of the aluminum foam media, thus yielding a strong penalty, up to 60%, of the heat transfer rate with respect to that of the conventional finned surface. Moreover, experimental results highlight how the bonding technique and the foam packaging have a strong influence on the contact thermal resistance and, consequently, on the overall heat transfer coefficient. Epoxy bonding allows to increase the thermal performance of the heat exchanger, if compared to press fitting, between 15% and 110%. In conclusion, results presented in this paper suggest that metal foams can be considered as a potential alternative to fins in water-to-air heat exchangers only if the foam tube bonding is obtained by welding or brazing.

Experimental measurements of thermal-hydraulic performance of aluminum-foam water-to-air heat exchangers for a HVAC application

Dongellini, M
;
Naldi, C;Cancellara, S;Morini, GL
2022

Abstract

In this paper, thermal and hydraulic performance of in-house made prototypes of water-to-air heat exchangers are experimentally investigated and compared to those of a compact heat exchanger, used in a commercial fan coil. The prototypes are built replacing the fins with aluminum foam surfaces characterized by a large porosity, higher than 96%. In order to evaluate the performance of the foam-based heat exchangers in a real-scale application, the geometry of the prototypes was based on that of the reference model and, moreover, experimental tests were performed placing the heat exchangers within the commercial cabinet, under the same fan power. Different bonding techniques were also tested to couple metal foams to copper tubes. Results show that similar hydraulic performance can be obtained with the foam-based heat exchangers, if compared to the commercial device. However, the large foam porosity accounts for a lower value of the surface-to-volume ratio of the aluminum foam media, thus yielding a strong penalty, up to 60%, of the heat transfer rate with respect to that of the conventional finned surface. Moreover, experimental results highlight how the bonding technique and the foam packaging have a strong influence on the contact thermal resistance and, consequently, on the overall heat transfer coefficient. Epoxy bonding allows to increase the thermal performance of the heat exchanger, if compared to press fitting, between 15% and 110%. In conclusion, results presented in this paper suggest that metal foams can be considered as a potential alternative to fins in water-to-air heat exchangers only if the foam tube bonding is obtained by welding or brazing.
Dongellini, M; Naldi, C; Cancellara, S; Morini, GL
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/898331
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