Experimental and numerical investigation of fractal-tree-like heat exchanger manufactured by 3D printing

Gang Wang, Yu Gu, Luhaibo Zhao, Jin Xuan, Gaofeng Zeng, Zhiyong Tang*, Yuhan Sun

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


The manufacturing difficulties of complex fractal-tree-like heat exchangers have limited their industrial applications, although many evidences have shown that they have significant advantages in heat transfer. Nevertheless, the emerging 3D printing technology has brought great opportunity for the development of complex structured device. In the present study, three-dimensional (3D) fractal-tree-like heat exchangers were designed and manufactured using 3D printing technology. Their performance was evaluated from both thermal and hydrodynamic perspectives, the flow characteristics were investigated in detail. The results show that a fractal-tree-like heat exchanger can improve hydrodynamic performance, reduce pressure drops and has great heat transfer ability. In general, the fractal-tree-like heat exchanger has a comprehensive advantage over the traditional spiral-tube exchangers as it has a higher value of coefficient of performance (COP). Furthermore, the 3D printing provides a visual, efficient, and precise approach in the present research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)250-261
Number of pages12
JournalChemical Engineering Science
Early online date26 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - 23 Feb 2019


  • 3D printing
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulation
  • Fractal-tree-like
  • Heat exchanger
  • Heat transfer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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