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Stochastic Thermally Enhanced Polymer Heat Exchanger for Seawater Applications

Principal Investigator(s): 


High thermal-conductivity polymer heat exchangers could play a vital role in seawater-based cooling systems in the power industry, desalination facilities, and offshore oil and natural gas production platforms. Such heat exchangers may be more resistant to the corrosive properties of seawater than the exotic metals currently used for such applications, while reducing weight and energy consumption. Polymer-based heat exchangers may also be cheaper to manufacture in large quantities. The program seeks to investigate these potential benefits via the following:

  • Identification of candidate thermally-enhanced polymer micro/nanocomposites suitable for use in high performance heat exchangers and favorable polymer heat exchanger configurations;
  • Assessment of the theoretical performance metrics and limits for heat exchangers fabricated with candidate thermally conductive polymers;
  • Fabrication of laboratory-scale heat exchangers from candidate polymer micro/nanocomposites materials and experimental determination of molding properties and structural integrity;
  • Experimental determination of the thermo-fluid performance metrics and limits for the laboratory-scale, sea-water heat exchangers, and
  • Support design and development of pilot-scale polymer heat exchangers to empirically characterize thermo-fluid performance and energy efficiency, along with other heat exchange metrics, and the corrosion-resistance of such heat exchangers to seawater.