Millimetre-wide polymer hollow fibres used as cooling channels in a heat exchanger have earned Brno University of Technology a special award from the Gold Medal Committee. The award was presented to researchers from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at a gala on 4 October.
Small polymer hollow fibres can serve as cooling channels for the heat exchanger. The ones shown at the International Engineering Fair (MSV) in Brno have an outer diameter of just one millimetre and a wall thickness of just 0.1 millimetres. “In contrast to commercially available metal heat exchangers, the proposed design is lighter, electrically non-conductive, made of inexpensive materials and more environmentally friendly overall. As the extrusion of polymer hollow fibres produces five times less carbon dioxide than is the case with commonly used aluminium,” described the technology, Jiří Hvožďa of the FME, Heat Transfer and Flow Laboratory.
The cooler can keep the system at acceptable conditions even when the batteries are drawing extreme power. “Specifically, when the batteries are discharged in as little as 15 minutes, the heat exchanger can keep the maximum temperature below 30 °C and the maximum temperature difference across the batteries below 3 °C, with pressure losses of up to 400 Pa. Compared to the technologies used today, this is a great result,” Hvožďa says, adding that the technology could find applications in the future, for instance, in the automotive industry. The industry, which is increasingly moving towards electromobility, is trying to tackle the issue of efficient battery cooling, among other things. The product was created in cooperation with Promens Zlin a.s.