3D Printed Pulsating Heat Pipe


Amsterdam, Netherlands


August 18, 2022

Beamler and Calyos successfully design and produced a 3D printed, pure copper pulsating heat pipe.

Beamler and Calyos successfully 3D printed a pure copper heat pipe (PHP or Pulsating Heat Pipe), proving the feasibility and effectiveness of such a project. This proof of concept marks a milestone in the production of PHP by additive manufacturing (AM).

As part of a recent research project analyzing pulsating heat pipes, Calyos chose Beamler as a partner to produce the 3D printed prototype. Beamler have since produced an article that aims to give an in depth analysis of the additive manufacturing of pure copper applied to heat pipes.

Here is an extract from the article:

"The device was 3D printed with pure copper using Laser Powder Bed Fusion (L-PBF). Pure copper has one the highest thermal conductivity of all metals, about 0.4 kW/(m.K) [2]. However, much higher thermal conductivity can be achieved with PHP up to 12 kW/(m.K) thanks to their working principles. The 3D printed pure copper heat pipe is a square prism of about 100 mm lengths for sides and 11 mm height. The images below show the blueprints and CAD model of the PHP. Internal dimensions of the channel are computed using internal software. The groove visible on the surface of the printed part are used for thermocouples. The total weight of the part is about 0.690 g. To prevent leakage of the working fluid and a loss of thermal conductivity, the part must be fully dense and the printed pure copper part is sintered to achieve this density. Sintering is the process of heating up a printed part to compact it. For most materials, sintering results in the shrinking of the part and inner dimensions must thus stay over a lower limit to avoid the closure of internal features."

The quality of the part was excellent and provides new opportunities for us commercialize to apply pulsating heat pipes. The heat pipe system was tested internally to verify the design both in terms of thermal and mechanical performance. Further experimental testing by the University of Palma.

We encourage you to delve deeper into the topic by reading Beamler's article.

Further reading:

Beamler Article

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