Heat Exchangers for Heavy Vehicles Utilizing High Thermal Conductivity Graphite Foams 2000-01-2207
Approximately two thirds of the world's energy consumption is wasted as heat. In an attempt to reduce heat losses, heat exchangers are utilized to recover some of the energy. A unique graphite foam developed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and licensed to Poco Graphite, Inc., promises to allow for novel, more efficient heat exchanger designs. This graphite foam, Figure 1, has a density between 0.2 and 0.6 g/cm3 and a bulk thermal conductivity between 40 and 187 W/m·K. Because the foam has a very accessible surface area (> 4 m2/g) and is open celled, the overall heat transfer coefficients of foam-based heat exchangers can be up to two orders of magnitude greater than conventional heat exchangers. As a result, foam-based heat exchangers could be dramatically smaller and lighter.