GE Research, the R&D arm of the American conglomerate GE, has successfully tested a prototype of a new type of 3D printed heat exchanger at temperatures as high as 900°C. GE Research’s sub-scale thermal conditioning unit, designed in conjunction with the University of Maryland and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), has a unique grape-like geometry that makes it extremely heat and pressure resistant. Now that it has passed the preliminary test, its temperature exceeds the capacity of the most advanced equipment at present, and exceeds 200 °C. General Electric Research said that its prototype can find applications in the energy sector, “in existing and next-generation power plants and Achieve cleaner and more efficient power generation on the jet engine platform”. According to Lana Osusky, chief engineer at the General Electric Research Institute, additive manufacturing played an important role in the early success of the project. “She said: “The design freedom provided by the 3D Printing process and design tools allows us to develop, build and test new heat exchanger designs more quickly, which was not possible before. “We may not want to eat these grapes, but when we completed this critical milestone, we still tasted victory.”
Improve the potential of this technology, especially in defense applications. Under its previous identity, General Electric Global Research, the business was supported by America Makes and developed a commercial-grade metal 3D printer together with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). The project immediately followed General Electric Research’s U.S. Navy contract, and the company received $9 million in funding to develop a method of digitally pairing naval parts to accelerate the production of mission-critical equipment. Recently, the Forge Laboratory of GE Research Institute designed a secure 3D printing blockchain network that can encrypt data in a way that protects data from cyber attacks, and received further military funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to increase To create a system that “produces water out of thin air”. Given that General Electric has a long history in the aerospace field, and its General Electric Aviation Division has actively adopted 3D printing technology, it is not surprising that its General Electric Research Division has now developed an optimized thermal regulation device. It Said that this device can “break efficiency barriers” and “reduce carbon emissions” in flight.
General Electric Research’s 3D printed sub-scale heat exchanger prototype reaches a thermal milestoneSince the beginning of 2019, GE Research has been developing its new heat exchanger through ARPA-E’s “High Intensity Heat Exchange Through Materials and Manufacturing Process” or “HITEMMP” program. In principle, this $3.1 million project aims to produce a compact temperature- and pressure-resistant heat exchanger capable of operating electric turbines and jet engines with higher efficiency. In this project, an interdisciplinary team of experts led by Osusky used the nickel superalloy designed by GE Research to create a heat exchanger they called “UPHEAT”. Through a lot of simulation, prototyping, and testing, the scientists’ 3D printing device has a collection of thin-walled cells that loosely resemble grapes. In cooperation with ORNL, a well-known corrosion science expert, GE Research has now tested the thermal resistance of its temperature regulation device. It not only reached the project’s initial target of 900°C, but also achieved nearly half of the target pressure of 3626 psi. The team intends to deliver a fully qualified demonstration prototype before the first quarter of 2022. “From regulating the air you breathe on an airplane to keeping your car’s engine, computer and other electronic products cool, heat exchangers play an important function and are everywhere in our daily lives,” General Electric announced in its release Concluded in the press release. “For GE, these equipment are essential to provide the world with large-scale power generation and jet propulsion systems in the cleanest and most efficient way.”
Optimizing heat exchanger designIn the past three years, the design flexibility released by 3D printing has increasingly seen the technology being used to develop heat exchangers with unique geometries and thermal resistance qualities. For example, in February 2021, 3D Systems signed a contract with the US Army to help produce 3D printed topology-optimized heat exchangers. As early as May 2019, ARPA-E also awarded Michigan State University $2.3 million for the development of a new additive-manufactured heat exchanger for power generation applications. Using an alloy suitable for LPBF, the team is working to create a scalable, compact thermal device that has strong corrosion resistance and high temperature resistance. At the same time, solid metal 3D printing expert Fabrisonic has been cooperating with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to 3D print heat exchangers that can be used in space.
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