HVAC Radial Air Bearing Heat Exchanger Research Project
The U.S. Department of Energy is currently conducting research into heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) radial air bearing heat exchangers. Rotary air bearing heat exchanger technology simultaneously solves four long standing problems of conventional "fan-plus-finned-heat-sink" heat exchangers.
This project seeks to design, fabricate, and test successive generations of prototype radial air bearing heat exchanger devices based on lessons learned and further insights into device optimization, computational fluid dynamic studies for parametric optimization and determination of scaling laws, and laboratory measurement of flow field and heat transfer observables, primarily for the purpose of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model validation.
Research is being undertaken between the Department of Energy and Sandia National Laboratory.
The goal of the project is to construct and test a final prototype device for a real-world HVAC and refrigeration application, along with a final report containing all of the information required for manufacture and future commercialization. By using a CFD model validated by laboratory measurements made on the version 1 through 5 prototypes, the final prototype designwill ideally be a drop-in replacement for air-cooled heat exchangers in an existing HVAC or refrigeration application.
Benefits and Impacts
The potential impact of this breakthrough technology in HVAC is an estimated 30% reduction in electricity consumption. This project will mature Sandia's current proof-of-concept device to a broadly applicable and fully application-ready technology. The heat exchanger has the potential for dramatic increase in cooling performance without resorting to exotic methods. It is 10 times smaller than current state-of-the-art CPU coolers, exceptionally quiet in operation, immune to dust fouling, simple, rugged, and cost-competitive.
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