Low-Cost Manufacture of High-Temperature Heat Exchangers

Period of Performance: 09/28/2015 - 09/27/2016


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Creare, Inc.
16 Great Hollow Road Array
Hanover, NH 03755
Principal Investigator


Precision laser welding shows great promise as a method for manufacturing high-temperature heat exchangers that can improve the performance of gas turbine engines used in unmanned air systems (UAS). UASs are finding broad use for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions for all DoD services and need these high-temperature heat exchangers (also called recuperators) to improve performance and extend mission time. We propose to develop an innovative, enhanced laser welding process that will enable production of recuperators at low cost with improved performance in the challenging engine exhaust environment. In Phase I we will prove the feasibility of this approach by assembling a proof-of-concept welding system that incorporates innovative instrumentation that can provide rapid feedback for precise control of weld parameters. We will demonstrate that incorporation of feedback during the welding process can enable production of welds with features that are optimized for good thermomechanical performance in recuperators. In Phase II we will use this process to produce prototype recuperator cores and demonstrate performance improvements compared to conventional recuperator cores.