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Heat exchanger with transpired, highly porous fins

United States Patent

April 30, 2002
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
National Renewable Energy Laboratory - Visit the NREL Technology Transfer Website
The heat exchanger includes a fin and tube assembly with increased heat transfer surface area positioned within a hollow chamber of a housing to provide effective heat transfer between a gas flowing within the hollow chamber and a fluid flowing in the fin and tube assembly. A fan is included to force a gas, such as air, to flow through the hollow chamber and through the fin and tube assembly. The fin and tube assembly comprises fluid conduits to direct the fluid through the heat exchanger, to prevent mixing with the gas, and to provide a heat transfer surface or pathway between the fluid and the gas. A heat transfer element is provided in the fin and tube assembly to provide extended heat transfer surfaces for the fluid conduits. The heat transfer element is corrugated to form fins between alternating ridges and grooves that define flow channels for directing the gas flow. The fins are fabricated from a thin, heat conductive material containing numerous orifices or pores for transpiring the gas out of the flow channel. The grooves are closed or only partially open so that all or substantially all of the gas is transpired through the fins so that heat is exchanged on the front and back surfaces of the fins and also within the interior of the orifices, thereby significantly increasing the available the heat transfer surface of the heat exchanger. The transpired fins also increase heat transfer effectiveness of the heat exchanger by increasing the heat transfer coefficient by disrupting boundary layer development on the fins and by establishing other beneficial gas flow patterns, all at desirable pressure drops.
Kutscher; Charles F. (Golden, CO), Gawlik; Keith (Boulder, CO)
Midwest Research Institute (Kansas City, MO)
09/ 453,386
December 2, 1999
The United States Government has rights in this invention under Contract No. DE-AC36-99GO10337 between the United States Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a Division of the Midwest Research Institute.