Possible 5X improvement in heat exchangers
August 1, 2019 4:48 PM   Subscribe

From Brown and Tsinghua University in Nature Communications: "Researchers from Tsinghua University and Brown University have discovered a simple way to give a major boost to turbulent heat exchange, a method of heat transport widely used in heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. In a paper published in Nature Communications, the researchers show that adding a readily available organic solvent to common water-based turbulent heat exchange systems can boost their capacity to move heat by 500%. " Orig paper
posted by aleph (14 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
Very cool.
posted by Glomar response at 4:57 PM on August 1, 2019 [5 favorites]

Very cool indeed. Interesting that such a small amount of additive could result in so much extra turbulence.... and that said turbulence would sustain such an improvement in heat transfer.

a link for the lazy https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-11221-w
posted by mce at 5:03 PM on August 1, 2019 [2 favorites]


HFE7000 isn't (yet) for sale on Amazon that I could see. Best I could tell a 1L bottle goes for for about $210. I'll be shocked if someone isn't selling small 100ml bottles of this stuff for $50 a pop on Amazon within a week or two of this article and making a killing of this article selling it to folks putting it into swamp coolers and a whole lot of other places it probably does nothing. "Miracle fluid improves your home A/C 500%" etc..
posted by inflatablekiwi at 5:33 PM on August 1, 2019 [3 favorites]

Yeah. Biggest problem seems to be getting this to the typical side-to-side heat exchangers. Bubble mechanism seems promising though.
posted by aleph at 5:54 PM on August 1, 2019

it's a neat fundamental study ....but a 5x improvement in nusselt number is not a "5x improvement in heat exchangers. "

there are also scaling issues here. what happens when you look at larger volumes of liquid.

people, please don't start adding fluorocarbons to your heat exchangers ffs.

this is some science news cycle shit at about the "news wire" stage..

physicsmatt where are you
posted by lalochezia at 5:59 PM on August 1, 2019 [11 favorites]

Neat, sounds kind of like you get a phase change at each plate, and more efficient heat transfer from it. I wonder if it’ll work for my radiant floor system?
posted by spacewrench at 6:07 PM on August 1, 2019

people, please don't start adding fluorocarbons to your heat exchangers ffs

Yeah, this. perfluoro-anything's got a bunch of potential nopes to it. It's sold as "green" 'cos it only damages the ozone layer a little bit.
posted by scruss at 6:13 PM on August 1, 2019 [4 favorites]

I give it 3 days before some PC Enthusiast has forum posts about adding this to his custom water cooling loop. YouTube high-profile tech vlogger post by next weekend.
posted by glonous keming at 6:27 PM on August 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

You lost me at “organic solvent.”
posted by sixswitch at 6:30 PM on August 1, 2019 [4 favorites]

*rubs hands together*

last time, i put up the physicsmatt batsignal as a wistful throwaway and they showed up


w/e i mean i guess this could be cool, maybe. sure wish someone could shed more light but if not that's fine too
posted by lazaruslong at 7:03 PM on August 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

You know we only just got PCBs out of things like transformers less than a decade ago.

Do we need to go down that road with yet another class of halocarbons? Especially when we're already getting concerned over the ubiquity of PFOS, their potential degradation products?
posted by bonehead at 7:33 PM on August 1, 2019 [6 favorites]

I wonder if this might make Einstein-Szilard refrigerators efficient enough to run off direct solar heat? Home A/C without a compressor would literally be a very cool idea.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:34 PM on August 1, 2019

Turbulent juice?
posted by grumpybear69 at 5:57 AM on August 2, 2019 [3 favorites]

don't mind if I don't, grumpybear69
posted by scruss at 7:06 AM on August 2, 2019 [2 favorites]

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