WASHINGTON — United Technologies Research Center (UTRC), the research arm of United Technologies Corp., has been awarded a one-year $744,154 contract by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) to develop a database of materials for the manufacture of high-performance industrial and commercial non-metallic heat exchangers.

“We’re excited to be working with the Department of Energy on this next-generation technology to explore new materials for heat exchangers,” said Abbas Alahyari, UTRC principal scientist and project leader. “If we can reduce the life-cycle and manufacturing costs utilizing new materials, then we can save a significant amount of energy.”

According to Alahyari, the review will include material identification and literature evaluation, as well as empirical and model characterization, resulting in a database of relevant material properties and characteristics to provide guidance for future heat exchanger development. Key material features will include thermal conductivity, permeability, life-cycle cost, flammability, and manufacturability.

UTRC will work closely with UTC Building & Industrial Systems, which includes Carrier, for building applications; and UTC Aerospace Systems for aerospace applications to define requirements and impact on energy use, both in manufacturing and operations. UTRC will also work with leading universities in the field to ensure access to the latest developments and to procure samples for evaluation, said Dr. Catherine Thibaud-Erkey, materials and manufacturing program element lead for the UTC Building & Industrial Systems program office at UTRC.

“We will explore new composite materials for their suitability to replace existing metal materials in the production of heat exchangers for the aerospace and heating, ventilating, air-conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR) markets,” Thibaud-Erkey said. “Applications could range from aircraft environmental control systems, to chillers and HVACR systems. We plan to identify materials that will operate in a range of environments, will cost less, won’t suffer from corrosion, are easier to maintain, and are lightweight — the latter being of particular importance in aerospace applications.

“Existing modeling tools and those to be developed will be used to predict thermal conductivity and mechanical properties of the composite materials,” said Thibaud-Erkey.

DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) accelerates development and facilitates deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality.

UTRC is headquartered in East Hartford, Connecticut, with research and development subsidiaries in Shanghai, China, and Cork, Ireland, and an affiliate in Berkeley, California. For more information, visit www.utrc.utc.com.

Publication date: 2/16/2015

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