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Echangeurs de chaleur á plaques en polymères cristaux liquides


The objective is to seek an innovative design of compact exchanger using a new polymer substance known as Liquid Crystal Polymer (LPC) pure or in form of an alloy which is capable of working at temperatures of up to 250øC. Such a new type of exchanger would have applications to every area of heat exchangers, especially liquid/liquid.

Despite the LCPs' promising thermal and mechanical properties, the results of the tests showed that the chemical resistance of different LCP formulations were not high enough to satisfy conditions where corrosive fluids at high temperatures (above 120(C) and high concentrations prevail. Also, while LCPs displayed a high resistance at low temperatures (below 100(C) and low concentrations to certain corrosive acids, there are already a large number of available plastic materials which have very high chemical resistance and are cheaper. Finally, further development of LCPs is limited by the much greater heat conductivity achieved by metals in industrial-sized applications.
This study of the design of the surface of a new type of LPC exchanger will require close collaboration between the various partners in the project, namely the designer (GRETh), the producer of the polymer (ENIRICERCHE), the polymer transformers and the manufacturer/vendor of the exchangers (VICARB).

Design: The first part of the investigation will enable us to define one or more plate geometries.
These are the principal elements constituting the exchanging surface. Both the dimensions and the form of the plates (chevrons, embossing or others) must be compatible with the plate manufacturing process.

Establishing the specifications: the second part of the research should enable us to define the various technical specifications for the development of the LPC.

Development of the base polymer: the chemical formulation of the polymer will first be determined followed by the various contents and additives used in the final compounds.
Characterization tests will be performed using test tubes which comply with established standards (physical, mechanical, chemical and process). This will enable to check whether the results achieved meet the specifications.
Manufacture of the heat exchanging plates: following various different model designs of exchangers, plates will be produced of an adequate scale for building representative models of the polymer transformers.
Exploratory tests: thermo-hydraulic and thermo-mechanical test bench tests will be performed as the basis for a summary of the study.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts


Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique (CEA)
Centre D'études De Grenoble
38041 Grenoble

Participants (2)

EniTecnologie S.p.A.
Via Felice Maritano
20097 Milano - San Donato Milanese
Vicarb SA
18 Avenue Marcel Cachan
38400 Saint-martin-d'hères