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Novel Electron Beam Surface Sculpting for Efficient Heat Exchange

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Novel heat exchangers with increased efficiency and functionality

Production of heat is a natural consequence of electron flow through a conductor with resistance. As current heat exchanger capabilities near their limits, a simple modification to the structure of the heat-exchanging surface introduced by an EU initiative can have a major impact.

Industrial Technologies

The heat generated by device equipment can adversely affect the function of a system – which is why engineers incorporate solutions such as heat exchangers. The capabilities of current heat exchangers are unlikely to meet the complex requirements of increasingly complicated and miniaturised electronics for advanced high-power applications. To address this issue, the EU-funded HEATSCULPTOR (Novel electron beam surface sculpting for efficient heat exchange) project aimed at developing new processing methods to improve old heat exchanger designs. To customise and optimise heat exchange surfaces, project partners further developed an enabling technology for heat exchangers in combination with state-of-the-art computational fluid dynamics modelling. The novel surface-processing technology produces several surface modifications to enhance heat transfer that cannot be achieved with traditional methods. Thermal resistance is about 60 % lower than that of its competitors. What is more, this surface engineering process is both efficient and cost effective when it comes to improving the thermal performance of liquid cooling applications for the electronics industry. Effective heat exchanger surfaces will now be available for the next generation of electronic cooling devices. The HEATSCULPTOR team developed new interface software that can be easily used by operators. It also improves the electron beam production capabilities to achieve higher volume manufacturing. HEATSCULPTOR delivered structured heat exchanger surfaces through novel processing expected to increase heat transfer efficiency by about 30 %. The electron beam technology will also minimise environmental impact through elimination of harsh chemicals associated with other surface-structuring techniques. Ultimately, the project will boost the competitiveness of numerous SMEs working in the domain.

Keywords

Heat exchangers, HEATSCULPTOR, electron beam surface sculpting, surface-processing technology, surface engineering process

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