Dendritic counterflow heat exchanger experiments
In this paper we report experimentally the hydraulic and thermal behavior of a balanced counterflow heat exchanger in which each stream flows through a tree-shaped structure covering a circular area. The tree structure is the same on both sides of the heat exchanger: they have three channels reaching/leaving the center, and three branching levels (i.e., 24 channels on the periphery of the circular area). On the hot side, fluid is pumped from the center to the periphery. On the cold side, fluid is pumped from the periphery to the center, and leaves the heat exchanger as a single stream. Two experimental apparatuses were built and tested. In the first design, the body of the heat exchanger was made out of plexiglass and a peripheral plenum was used to collect or distribute the working fluid to the tree structure. The measurements showed that the use of a plenum generates undesirable volumetric flow asymmetries. These lessons led to a second design, which has two major improvements: (i) the heat exchanger core was made out of aluminum and (ii) individual ports (inlets/outlets) were used for each of the peripheral channels. The hydraulic results show a relation between the appearance of volumetric flow rate asymmetries and the bifurcation angles throughout the dendritic structure. The heat transfer results are also discussed. © 2005.
Volume / Issue
Start / End Page
International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)