Heat Exchanger Using Metallic Foams on Fins

Technology #15990

Questions about this technology? Ask a Technology Manager

Download Printable PDF

Image Gallery
Heat exchangers using metallic foams on finsHeat exchangers using metallic foams on fins
Leslie Bromberg
Plasma Science And Fusion Center, MIT
External Link (mitei.mit.edu)
Daniel Cohn
Energy Initiative, MIT
Managed By
Christopher Noble
MIT Technology Licensing Officer - Clean and Renewable Energy
Patent Protection

Heat Exchangers Using Metallic Foams on Fins

US Patent Pending 2014-0145107


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.

Problem Addressed

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