Optimization & Manufacturing Challenges
Anywhere you find oil, fuel, or electronics in a high-performance vehicle, you are going to find a heat exchanger. For example, a typical commercial jet needs four to six heat exchangers per engine and the average commercial craft can contain 20+ heat-exchanger units overall. Drone design is about balancing tradeoffs between engine size and cooling-system weight to achieve optimum power and range. Satellites are crammed full of heat-generating electronics. Heat exchangers are everywhere.
To fully optimize heat exchanger design, engineers need to maximize the surface area that exists between the hot side and the cooler fluid or gas. In addition, they need to decrease the thickness of the walls to allow faster heat transfer while keeping the walls leak tight. This means that, often for high performance designs, engineers are looking to produce complex internal channels with very thin, high aspect ratio walls.
Velo3D’s end-to-end solution provides the ability to print sheet-metal-thin leak tight walls (down to 300 um) and thermally efficient foil-thin fins and walls (down to 150 um). This enables designers to leverage the latest software techniques for generative design or topological optimization and still have a simplified path to production. With higher quality surface finishes than you can find on other metal 3D printers, the Sapphire® enables heat exchangers to be manufactured with the most aggressive geometries, improved back pressure, and overall higher efficiency.