UCONN, Dr Chiu
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Thermal Fluids Study of Heat Transfer and Pressure Drop of 3D Printable Open-cell Foams
This project is a continuation of the research conducted by Dr. Chiu and his laboratory team on the study of heat transfer and pressure drop of 3-D open-cell foams. Open-cell foams are extremely useful in heat transfer applications due to their porous and lightweight bodies. The objective of this project is to determine the structural stability and printability of several individual open-cell foams, each with slightly different geometric features. The analysis specifically focuses on investigating cells with different binder angles, shell wall thicknesses, and perforation radii. Feasible means to 3-D print the cells were discovered and utilized on cells with binder angles ranging between 30° to 60°. The structural stability of several cells with binder angles ranging from 5° to 25° was determined. Through simulation, it was possible to numerically evaluate which cells are structurally sound enough for printing and handling, as well as determine the minimum binder angle for which 3-D printing was feasible. A plot was developed to demonstrate the relationship between binder angle and maximum Von Mises stress from the analysis. To validate these results, physical compression tests were performed. Furthermore, CFD analysis was performed using COMSOL to simulate wind tunnel conditions and study the fluid flow, velocity, and pressure drop across an open-cell foam. Multiple CFD tests were performed with foams generated using multiple cells and configurations as well as multiple inlet velocities. The relationships between pressure drop, porosity and inlet velocity of the flow were developed. This work was performed in collaboration with Gerardo Maria Mauro at the Università degli Studi del Sannio, and Marcello Iasiello, Nicola Bianco and Vincenzo Naso at the Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, with support from an Italian Government MIUR Grant No. PRIN-2017F7KZWS.