High-porosity metal foams, with novel thermal, mechanical, electrical, and acoustic properties, are being more widely used in various industrial applications. In this paper, open-cell aluminum foam is considered as a highly compact replacement for conventional louver fins in brazed aluminum heat exchangers. A model based on the -NTU method is developed to compare the flat-tube, serpentine louver-fin heat exchanger to the flat-tube metal-foam heat exchanger. The two heat exchangers are subjected to identical thermal-hydraulic requirements, and volume, mass, and cost of the metal-foam and louver-fin designs are compared. The results show that the same performance is achieved using the metal-foam heat exchanger but a lighter and smaller heat exchanger is required. However, the cost of the metal-foam heat exchanger is currently much higher than that of the louver-fin heat exchanger, because of the high price of metal foams. If the price of metal foam falls to equal that of louver-fin stock (per unit mass), then the metal-foam heat exchanger will be less expensive, smaller, and lighter than the louver-fin heat exchanger, with identical thermal performance.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Mechanical Engineering
- Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes