Abstract

Printed Circuit Heat Exchangers (PCHEs) have high thermal efficiency because of the numerous minuscule channels. These minuscule channels result in a high thermal exchange area per unit volume, making PCHE a top contender for an intermediate heat exchanger in high-temperature reactors. Thousands of minuscule channels make finite element analysis of the PCHE computationally infeasible. A two-dimensional analysis is usually performed for the PCHE core, which cannot simulate the local channel level responses reasonably because of the absence of global constraint influence. At present, there is no analysis technique available in the ASME Code or literature that is computationally efficient and suitable for engineers to estimate PCHE local responses. A novel but practical two-step analysis framework is proposed for performing PCHE analysis. In the first step, the channeled core is replaced by orthotropic solids with similar stiffness to simulate the global thermomechanical elastic responses of the PCHE. In the second step, local submodel analysis with detailed channel geometry and loading is performed using the elastic-perfectly plastic material model. The proposed two-step analysis technique provides a unique capability to estimate the channel corner responses to be used for PCHE performance assessment. This study first developed a methodology for calculating the elastic orthotropic properties of the PCHE core. Next, the two-step analysis is performed for a realistic size PCHE core, and different issues observed in the results are scrutinized and resolved. Finally, a practical finite element analysis framework for PCHEs in high-temperature nuclear service is recommended.

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