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Heat Management through Topology Optimization and Lattice Structures

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A cooling channel's design has a significant impact on the efficiency of heat exchangers and mold-die components in industrial processes. Laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) additive manufacturing and multidisciplinary topology optimization have opened new design paradigms based on optimal heat management. This study proposes a framework for thermo-fluid topology optimization to determine the optimal conformal cooling channels design in molds and dies. As part of the thermo-fluid topology optimization process, some of the manufacturing constraints associated with the LPBF process are considered. Among these constraints are a minimal length scale and the elimination of overhangs. In addition to this active cooling strategy, a passive solution has been explored to enhance the thermal conductivity of tooling material. This consists in designing and fabricating lattice structure channels made of tool steel and infiltrated with high thermal conductivity materials such as copper (Cu). Simulation studies and experimental work have been conducted to investigate the efficiency of cooling systems that employ active cooling (conformal cooling channels) and passive cooling mechanisms (lattice structures infiltrated with Cu).

Learning Objectives:

  • Introduce an alternative design method for conformal cooling channels, which will reduce production problems of die casting components.
  • Increase the efficiency of the casting process and the life of the tool through alternative heat management strategies, such as conformal cooling and copper infiltrated lattices.
  • Heat Management reduce cycle time and maintain a beneficial effect on component properties and rejection rate.