Ultra Compact Silicon Carbide Heat Exchanger

Period of Performance: 05/02/2000 - 05/02/2002


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Busek Co., Inc.
11 Tech Circle
Natick, MA 01760
Principal Investigator

Research Topics


To exploit the capabilities of high performance turbines requires the development of ceramic heat exchangers (HEX). Absence of techniques for fabricating intricate ceramic structures limit the use of recuperated heat exchanger designs. Busek's reaction bonding process provides a method of fabricating silicon carbide (SiC) components from simple precursor shapes such as plates that can be purchased commercially The objective for Phase II is to manufacture a prototype SiC HEX that is ultra compact and suitable for small recuperated gas turbine engines. In the Phase I program we demonstrated the feasibility of manufacturing high prime surface area, fin-plate HEX segments using our SiC reaction joining process. These segments remained gas tight after thermal testing by localized heating. In the Phase II project we will further refine our manufacturing approach for fin-plate structures. We will design and fabricate subscale heat exchanger test modules that will be tested in a combustion test apparatus. The test will expose the modules to realistic air-side and process gas conditions and measure key heat exchanger performance data such as effectiveness and pressure drop. The engineering data and fabrication experience will be used to design a prototype heat exchanger that will be manufactured, tested and then delivered to the Army Research Laboratory. BENFITS: Recuperated mobile gas turbines with improved economy, high efficiency and low cost will replace diesel engines in many military vehicles and can be considered for prime movers, automotive and emerging hybrid vehicle applications. Outside gas turbine applications, methods of fabricating SiC structures can be exploited in industrial and utility scale heat exchangers, chemical reformers and heat management industries.