A Numerical Study on Turbulent Single-Phase Flow and Heat Transfer in Pillow Plates
Pillow-plate heat exchangers (PPHE) represent an innovative heat exchanger design and are a promising alternative to conventional shell-and-tube and plate heat exchangers. However, no reliable design methods for PPHE are available in the open literature. The aim of our work is to close this gap by carrying out a comprehensive study on fluid dynamics and heat transfer in PPHE. In this contribution, the results of a CFD-based investigation of single-phase turbulent fluid flow and heat transfer in pillow plates are presented. The genuine pillow-plate geometry is reproduced using deformation simulations. This method adequately imitates the hydroforming process during the real manufacturing of pillow plates and thus permits an accurate reconstruction of the wavy pillow-plate channels. The generated geometry is then used to carry out CFD simulations for the investigation of fluid flow, pressure loss and heat transfer in pillow plates. The simulation results are successfully validated against experimental measurements performed by our group. Finally, the use of oval welding spots instead of circular ones, as a possibility for improving the thermo-hydraulic performance of pillow-plates, is investigated.