This technology can be applied to systems that require large heat transfer to a flowing gas or liquid such as liquid air energy storage and gas liquefaction. Catalysts can be embedded within the metallic foam to improve endothermic and exothermic catalytic conversions. This technology can also be be used to upconvert car engines for lean burn operation.
Heat exchangers are often limited by low heat transfer to a flowing gas or liquid. Heat transfer between metallic foams and a flowing gas or liquid is high but the foam has low thermal conductivity (about 1/35 of the base metal) so the size of metallic foam heat exchangers are limited unless other materials are used to improve the heat transfer.
This technology embeds highly conductive fins within metallic foam. The fins reduce temperature gradients within the metallic foam, which allows the heat exchanger to be thicker and support a higher flow rate. The fin and foam configuration can be adapted to a wide range of topographies and heat transfer needs by adjusting the fin shape, spacing, and length or the foam material and density. Heat can be transferred between a substrate in thermal contact with the fins and a gas or liquid flowing through the foam. Alternatively, different gases or liquids can be flowed through adjacent channels within the foam to transfer heat from one flowing medium to another.
- Flexible configuration
- Improved heat transfer in metallic foams
- Large heat transfer in a wide range of systems