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Additively manufactured polymer composites for heat exchanger applications: evaluation of critical thermophysical properties

Publication Type
Journal Name
Journal of Materials Science
Publication Date
Page Numbers
11585 to 11596

Polymeric heat exchangers (PHXs) have been used in applications involving weight restrictions, chemical compatibility, and fouling issues. Additive manufacturing (AM) or 3D printing provide new solutions to previously inaccessible combinations of properties and geometries. There are some advancements in the PHXs by AM; however, the process and the properties of materials still need further investigation to improve the overall performance. In this study, additively manufactured polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG) composites reinforced with graphite and pitch-based carbon fibers were evaluated for their potential application as PHXs. The thermal conductivity, volumetric heat capacity, coefficient of thermal expansion, creep behavior, and long-term performance were studied in detail. Our results reveal that the composites have an anisotropic thermal conductivity. The thermal conductivity along the printing direction is higher than the layer building direction due to the shear-induced alignment of the fillers. The printed composites achieve good thermal stability with 80% lower CTE at room temperature than neat PETG. Creep tests suggest the creep and creep recovery were highly temperature-dependent, and the deformation can be recovered when the temperature is below glass transition. These results suggest additive manufactured composites be potentially used for heat exchanger applications at low temperatures.