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Adhesive microlamination protocol for low-temperature microchannel arrays Public Deposited

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  • A new adhesive bonding method is introduced for microlamination architectures, for producing low-temperature microchannel arrays in a wide variety of metals. Sheet metal embossing and chemical etching processes have been used to produce sealing bosses and flow features, resulting in approximately 50% fewer laminae over traditional methods. These lamina designs are enabled by reduced bonding pressures required for the new method. An assembly process using adhesive dispense and cure is outlined to produce leak-free devices. Feasible fill ratios were determined to be 1.1 in general and 1.25 around fluid headers, largely due to gaps between faying surfaces caused by surface roughness. Bond strength investigation reveals robustness to surface conditions and a bond strength of 5.5-8.5 MPa using a 3X safety factor. Dimensional characterization reveals a two sigma (95%) post-bonded channel height tolerance under 10% (9.6%) after bonding. Patterning tolerance and surface roughness of the faying laminae were found to have a significant influence on the final postbonded channel height. Leakage and burst pressure testing on several samples has established confidence that adhesive bonding can produce leak-free joints. Operating pressures up to 413 kPa have been satisfied, equating to tensile pressure on bond joints of 1.9 MPa. Higher operating pressures can be accommodated by increasing the bond area of devices. A two-fluid counterflow microchannel heat exchanger has been redesigned, fabricated and tested to demonstrate feasibility of the new method. Results show greater effectiveness and higher heat transfer rates, suggesting a smaller device than the original heat exchanger. A maximum effectiveness of 82.5% was achieved with good agreement between theoretical and experimental values. Although thermal performance was improved, higher pressure drops were noted. Pressure drops were predicted with a maximum error of 16% between theoretical and experimental values. Much of the pressure drop was found to be in the device manifolds, which can be improved in subsequent designs. Fluid flow simulation results show a 45-65X reduction in fluid leakage velocity past sealing bosses, thereby mitigating adhesive erosion concerns. Theoretical models indicate that the worst-case adhesive erosion rate is 1/12th the rate of aluminum and 1/7th the rate of stainless steel, implying satisfactory reliability in high fluid velocity applications. Economic comparison indicates an 83% reduction in material cost and 71% reduction in assembly cost with the new adhesive bonding process, when compared to diffusion bonding for the recuperator investigated in this study. Adhesive compatibility with common refrigerants is reviewed through literature references, with no adverse compatibility issues noted. The findings of this research suggest a fairly quick path to commercialization for the new bonding method. Future studies required to pursue commercialization are liquid and gas permeability evaluations, and long term strength and performance testing of adhesives in targeted applications.
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