How nTop Platform was used to design, analyze and print a fuel-cooled oil cooler

nTop engineers designed, analyzed and printed a fuel-cooled oil cooler using nTop Platform, ANSYS CFX and a new additive aluminum alloy developed by HRL Laboratories. This blog takes you from start to finish in the series that began in late 2019.

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Sam Lindsay
February 12, 2020

We promised you late last year that we were going to bring you a series on heat exchanger design. You may have seen it unfold over the past few months but we figured we’d collate the blogs and the article here with a short summary and link to each one. 

Dr. Ryan O’Hara started off by Taking Heat Exchanger Design to the Next Level with High-Performance Geometry. Heat exchanger efficiency has been stifled by traditional modeling software and manufacturing processes not capable of producing advanced geometries. In this blog, he discusses the prevalence of heat exchangers, types of heat exchangers, and dives into electronic heat dissipation with a heat sink designed using triply periodic minimal surfaces (TPMS). He ends with a promise that he will take us through the actual workflow used by our engineers to design and analyze a fuel-cooled oil cooler (FCOC). 

We also learned about a new additive aluminum alloy, 7A77, developed by HRL Laboratories. 7A77 is the world’s strongest additive aluminum alloy to date. An industrial application where 7A77 can be used is for a heat exchanger. Dr. Ryan O’Hara and Maiki Vlahinos generatively designed a novel FCOC with 7A77 in mind. Using nTop Platform to design the internal core with a gyroid structure (aka TPMS) they were able to increase the surface area by 146% and reduce wall thickness by 50% which increased the heat transfer rate by 300%. Read more about this here

The final fuel-cooled oil cooler design 3D printed as a cutaway to show the intricate geometry inside. Photo via HRL Laboratories and Morf3D.

Finally, the automated workflow created and used by nTop engineers to design the FCOC was discussed in this ANSYS blog, Unlock Breakthrough Heat Exchanger Designs with Gyroids. Our engineers used ANSYS CFX to evaluate the performance of the FCOC design. By integrating nTop Platform and ANSYS CFX into an automated workflow they were able to further increase the performance of their heat exchanger design by an additional 12%.

The collaboration between nTopology, HRL, Morf3D and ANSYS made this design all the more a reality. Altogether, the synthesis of advanced geometry tools, like nTop Platform, coupled with advanced simulation, materials and fabrication methods led to a 312% increase in performance! If you’d like to learn more about how nTop Platform’s design capabilities can take your design to the next level, reach out to our team (sales@ntopology.com). In the interim, you can see how nTop Platform can be used for other applicants by watching some of our latest webinars found here

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Written by
Partner Marketing Director
Sam is the Partner Marketing Director for nTopology. She brings eight years of experience in the simulation industry and spent nearly seven years at Dassault Systemes as a Partner Manager for the SIMULIA brand. While working full time for SIMULIA she worked on obtaining an MBA and soaking up as much knowledge as she could about the additive manufacturing space. With her education, experience and enthusiasm for AM she brings her writing and marketing passion to the nTopology team. She lives in Providence, RI with her husband and spends quite a bit of time in NYC at nTopology HQ.