Autodesk Within – heat exchanger challenges designers
Working with Autodesk Within, we wanted to produce a concept heat exchanger with a radical new approach to design which would demonstrate that additive manufacturing (AM) frees designers from constraints imposed by traditional manufacturing technologies.
The heat exchanger is lighter and stronger than would have been possible using any other production method. Using Within Enhance software means it is possible to optimize the internal structures and skin thickness using the built-in Finite Element Analysis resulting in excellent performance, weight reduction and functional strength where needed.
Inside each of the tear drop shaped tubes are struts (known as turbulators) which increase the internal surface area and disrupt the flow of the fluid to maximize heat transfer and thus cooling. The outside form is also designed to maximize cooling by increasing the external surface area via the inclusion of external cooling fins.
The heat exchanger is built from a large number of repeated sub-elements. Each sub-element has been optimized so that the final design can be formed into almost any shape which means it can be designed to fit into the space available.
As with all additive manufactured products, production waste is kept to a minimum which keeps costs down.
Also, the final component was built in one piece, without any support structures, in around a week – a fraction of the time normally expected to produce such a complex part.