Salt HYdrate Heat Pipes; a breakthrough in thermal energy transfer methods

Solutions developed

The project pursues several specific research objectives, including 1) developing the first SH-HP using the primary choice material of NH4NO3, 2) finding and testing potential alternatives for the benchmark material, 3) thermal and flow simulation (CFD) of HPs (in various designs) with the selected materials as working fluid, 4) thermal behavior optimization of the SH-HPs, 5) experimental verification of the modeling results on the SH-HPs in the lab, and 6) carrying out a risk analysis, life cycle cost, and life cycle assessment of the developed HPs. It is expected that the enhancement to be made in HPs’ design and performance could be advantageous for a wide range of thermal energy systems, especially those for the exploitation of renewable energy e.g. geothermal systems, solar evacuated collectors, etc.

Main results

Heat pipes (HPs) are one of the highly efficient passive devices used for heat transfer from one place to another. Recent HP technologies have shown auspicious results in several applications, especially where there is limited space and the necessity of high heat flux, such as in aerospace and automotive industries, cooling of computers, cell phones, fuel production, HVAC systems, and renewable energy systems. Although HPs offer acceptable ranges of thermal efficiencies today, achieving higher efficiencies could make a revolution in their applicability, making them a dramatically more effective tool for the mentioned applications and even many others. Hence, this project proposes a first-of-its-kind and revolutionary approach for the performance enhancement of heat transfer tools, especially in HPs. The method centers around the use of salt hydrate (SH) materials with positive enthalpy of dissolution as the working fluid.