Integral Channel Nozzles and Heat Exchangers using Additive Manufacturing Directed Energy Deposition NASA HR-1 Alloy

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Heat exchangers for use in propulsion applications are very critical components because they must be efficient, compact and light and often operate with working fluids at extreme temperatures or pressures or both. Various components and systems use heat exchangers such as combustion chambers of gas turbines and internal combustion engines, fuel cells (air supply and thermal management), electric batteries (thermal management), evaporators and recuperators of waste-heat-to-power systems, and rocket engines. Even if the results are more generally applicable, the heat exchangers applications to which this study is more closely related are regeneratively cooled rocket nozzles and chambers, and repressurization systems for the launch vehicles. These components are often thin-walled and contain pressurized fluids, like propellants at cryogenic or elevated temperatures. Given that the environments that these propulsion components must endure are challenging, the manufacturing to meet these specifications often require long lead times due to specialty processes and unique tooling associated with the combined thin-wall integral channel and large-scale structures. Additive manufacturing (AM) offers programmatic advantages for reduction in processing time and cost in addition to various technical advantages, including the possibility to achieve enhanced hardware complexity targeted to superior performance, part consolidation, and the capability of processing of novel alloys. While AM is already being utilized for heat exchanger components in propulsion applications, almost all these AM components are made by means of Laser Powder Bed Fusion (L-PBF). L-PBF allows for fine features but is rather limited with respect to the overall size of the components that can be manufactured. Recent developments are maturing the Laser Powder Directed Energy Deposition (LP-DED) process which may be used, for example, to make integral channel thin-wall regeneratively-cooled rocket nozzles with diameters greater than 1 m. This paper highlights some integral channel heat exchanger demonstrator hardware applications of LP-DED, as well as the characterization of this process in combination with the use of the NASA HR-1 alloy. To properly utilize LP-DED for heat exchanger manufacturing, various aspects are being characterized such as geometry limitations, measurement of surface texture and geometric angled surfaces, surface enhancements for internal channels, and material evaluation. NASA HR-1 (Fe-Ni-Cr) is a high strength hydrogen resistant superalloy developed for use in aerospace applications, such as heat exchangers. Some aspects and considerations about the design of heat exchangers are summarized together with data relevant to LP-DED manufacturing in combination with the NASA HR-1 alloy. Microchannels were successful deposited down to 2.54 mm and 1 mm wall thickness, wall angles of 30°, both with high reproducibility. It was also found that the areal surface roughness is highly dependent on the size of the powder feedstock used for deposition. The characterization of these LP-DED features is critical for fluid flow and heat transfer predictions as it can be exploited to enhance heat transfer at the cost of increased pressure drop.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 73rd International Astronautical Congress
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Event73rd International Astronautical Congress - Paris, France
Duration: 18 Sept 202222 Sept 2022
Conference number: 73


Conference73rd International Astronautical Congress
Abbreviated titleIAC 2022


  • Additive Manufacturing
  • Heat Exchangers
  • Directed Energy Deposition
  • Nozzles
  • Laser Powder Directed Energy Deposition
  • DED
  • LP-DED
  • Channel Wall Nozzles


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