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Experimental and numerical investigation of fractal-tree-like heat exchanger manufactured by 3D printing

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journal contribution
posted on 16.08.2018 by Gang Wang, Yu Gu, Luhaibo Zhao, Jin Xuan, Gaofeng Zeng, Zhiyong Tang, Yuhan Sun
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd The manufacturing difficulties of complex fractal-tree-like heat exchangers have limited their industrial applications, although many evidences have shown that they have significant advantages in heat transfer. Nevertheless, the emerging 3D printing technology has brought great opportunity for the development of complex structured device. In the present study, three-dimensional (3D) fractal-tree-like heat exchangers were designed and manufactured using 3D printing technology. Their performance was evaluated from both thermal and hydrodynamic perspectives, the flow characteristics were investigated in detail. The results show that a fractal-tree-like heat exchanger can improve hydrodynamic performance, reduce pressure drops and has great heat transfer ability. In general, the fractal-tree-like heat exchanger has a comprehensive advantage over the traditional spiral-tube exchangers as it has a higher value of coefficient of performance (COP). Furthermore, the 3D printing provides a visual, efficient, and precise approach in the present research.


This work was supported by the Youth Innovation Promotion Association of Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Key Technical Personnel of Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (grant 2016YFA0602603). The work was also supported by Frontier Scientific Research Project funded by Shell under contract No. PT19253.



  • Aeronautical, Automotive, Chemical and Materials Engineering


  • Chemical Engineering

Published in

Chemical Engineering Science


WANG, G. ... et al., 2018. Experimental and numerical investigation of fractal-tree-like heat exchanger manufactured by 3D printing. Chemical Engineering Science, 195, pp.250-261.


© Elsevier


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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This paper was accepted for publication in the journal Chemical Engineering Science and the definitive published version is available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ces.2018.07.021.