Technical Brief

Limitations of Additive Manufacturing on Microfluidic Heat Exchanger Components

[+] Author and Article Information
Yenny Rua

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Fairfield University,
1073 North Benson Road,
Fairfield, CT 06824
e-mail: yenny.rua@student.fairfield.edu

Russell Muren

Rebound Technology,
74 Benthaven Place,
Boulder, CO 80305
e-mail: Russell@rebound-tech.com

Shanon Reckinger

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Fairfield University,
1073 North Benson Road,
Fairfield, CT 06824
e-mail: shanon.reckinger@fairfield.edu

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Manufacturing Engineering Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MANUFACTURING SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING. Manuscript received February 12, 2014; final manuscript received March 14, 2015; published online April 28, 2015. Assoc. Editor: Joseph Beaman.

J. Manuf. Sci. Eng 137(3), 034504 (Jun 01, 2015) (5 pages) Paper No: MANU-14-1060; doi: 10.1115/1.4030157 History: Received February 12, 2014; Revised March 14, 2015; Online April 28, 2015

This work describes the testing of microfluidic components created using additive manufacturing. An Objet Eden 250 was used to create microfluidic channel test coupons with passages ranging from 0.5 to 3.0 mm and wall thicknesses ranging from 0.032 to 0.5 mm. Coupons were cleaned and tested under flow to examine structural integrity. Microfluidic channels with wall thicknesses down to 0.032 mm could be printed, cleaned, and tested successfully, although plastic deformation was observed in coupons with wall thicknesses below 0.1 mm. Given these limits, additive manufacturing based microfluidic heat exchangers (HXs) offer cost and performance benefits in natural convection HX applications.

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Fig. 1

Thermal resistance network for a typical finned HX (left) and an additive manufacturing based HX with printed-in flow passages (right)

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Fig. 2

A schematic of the coupon design with dimensional parameters of interest

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Fig. 3

A photo sequence of the cleaning and testing process. From left to right, top to bottom: An example of the tower cleaning method, a demonstration of the manual removal of the interior support material, a visual of how the cleaning progress was measured, and a diagram of the water flow apparatus for testing coupons under forced circulation.

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Fig. 4

Location of coupon and approximate system pressure along flow path for both the first and second configuration

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Fig. 5

A screenshot of the three different printing orientations: axial, horizontal, and vertical

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Fig. 6

Left: A photo of the plastic deformation on the wall of a coupon. Right: A photo of the plastic deformation of the overall coupon structure.

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Fig. 7

Percentage of the overall heat transfer coefficient for natural convection HX for different wall thicknesses. Assumptions: vertical fin, Thot = 60 °C, Tinf = 20 °C, pressure = 1 bar, liquid = water, gas = air, fin length = 10 cm, and Rforced,conv = 0.0015 K m2/W.



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