Reference : Air centre structure of automotive heat exchangers in view of its post-buckling behaviour
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Air centre structure of automotive heat exchangers in view of its post-buckling behaviour
Kedziora, Slawomir mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Science, Technology and Communication (FSTC) > Engineering Research Unit >]
Mania, Radoslaw mailto
Lodz University of Technology
[en] Air-centres ; Post-buckling ; FEA
[en] Air-centres are the key components of automotive heat exchangers taking into account heat transfer requirements and air pressure drop. In other words, their main goal is to provide a sufficient surface needed to transfer heat with minimum pressure drop of an airside. The air-centres are thin-walled structures made of wrought aluminium alloy with a ratio between a minimum dimension and a thickness at least
of 85. In addition, they create a necessary structural support for heat exchanger tubes and thanks to them a heat exchanger cores have a required structural resistance. The current heat exchanger structural designs were developed based on ground of many years’ developments having regard to field failures and complex manufacturing processes. Unfortunately, there are still design issues, which need to be clarified and one of them is the structural design requirements of the air centres.

The goal of this paper is to show importance of the post-buckling resistance of the air-centres on the overall structural integrity of the heat-exchanger core. The work
is focused on the post-buckling behaviour of the air-centres taking into consideration different material properties in an elasto-plastic range and the different thickness. Both parameters have influence on stress level in the heat-exchangers tubes. The varying stresses in the tubes are main roots of field failure of the heat exchangers. The buckled shapes of the air centres cause the reduction of the tube stiffness supports. Thus, they causes high tube stresses, which in turn reduce significantly field lifetime of the heat exchangers.
The problem is very much practical due to continuous trend on nowadays-automotive market to decrease the thickness of components of heat exchangers in order to cut cost of final products.
Unfortunately, there is not a clear limit of the thickness reduction considering
the strength (pressure resistance) of the core. In addition, the strength material requirements are not visibly defined in terms of the overall pressure core resistance.
This work is going to bring some estimation of the thickness and the material strength requirements of the air centres taking into consideration the complex buckling problem.
The current nominal thickness of the air-centres is about 0.075 mm with a trend to reduce. The material is typically wrought aluminium alloy 3003-H14 with the trend to change to higher strength materials.
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