International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer
School of Engineering
In this study, the effect of using bio-inspired surface texturing as a technique to further enhance the efficiency of a single Plate Fin Heat Exchanger (PFHX) was investigated experimentally. By using biomimicry across disciplines, the denticle, which is a body adaptation from shark skin for enhanced hydrodynamics, was identified as a surface texture to be used on the fin of a PFHX. A smooth NACA 63-015 PFHX (HX0) was used as baseline for thermo-hydraulic performance comparisons. Initially, three PFHXs (HX1, HX2 and HX3), consisting of arrays of denticles upscaled to different scale factors, were designed and printed in ABS plastic to evaluate Additive Manufacturing (AM) limits. By analysing optical images and pressure drop results, HX2 was found to be the best performing array in terms of printing quality and pressure drop performance. Both HX0 and HX2 were then printed in stainless steel 17-4PH by using a Markforged Metal X printer, and then experimentally compared to evaluate their flow and heat transfer behaviours. Results demonstrate that the addition of shark denticles as surface textures on HX2 shifted the onset of turbulence from a fully turbulent to a transitional regime compared to HX0. For Re < 5.7×104, the friction factor for HX2 was less than that of HX0, while at higher Re values the trend was reversed due to increases in skin friction drag. At Re = 3.9×104, the friction factor for HX2 was 56% lower than that of HX0. Overall, a mean improvement of 14% in Nusselt number was noted for HX2 compared to HX0. Further, a mean thermo-hydraulic performance of 1.11 was noted for HX2 for the range of tested Re values, which demonstrated that the addition surface textures in the form of shark denticles to a NACA 63-015 profile yielded a more efficient PFHX compared to a smooth one.
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