Whenever we think about items that we have known or used for years, we naturally associate them with the material from which they are made. As a rule, we do not think about how much the materials used to produce them have changed over the years.
New Materials – Improved Functionality
In fact, everyday small items that we surround ourselves with, as well as these much larger ones based on complex technologies, are constantly changing in terms of the materials used to construct them. There’s a good example of this perpetual change. The uniqueness of the Boeing 787 “Dreamliner” lies in the fact that it is the first model of an aircraft in the construction of which plastic was used on such a large scale. Result – significant reduction of its mass followed by lower fuel consumption.
Also, in the field of heat recovery, new, previously unused materials can find use. The original one that naturally comes to mind is aluminum. Characterized by high thermal conductivity, it has been used for decades wherever the essence of the operation of devices was based on heat transfer. However, these commonly known excellent properties of aluminum do not guarantee that this material will be the only one used in recuperators.
Counterflow Recuperator – a new concept
As it turns out, heat recovery systems don’t lag behind in the use of other, more modern materials. The aluminum from which the recuperator plates were made over the years is simply giving way to plastics. To be precise – a very special plastic, capable to fulfill key requirements we have defined at the very beginning of the new counterflow recuperator concept. To understand the features of new material we were looking for, let’s list them now:
- Allowable embossing depth – it’s another key criteria defined by us. Knowing that plate in the exchanger’s core needs to be corrugated – we needed to find material easy for embossing deep enough to expand the heat exchange surface to the required level and to apply minimum accepted rigidity of individual plates in the core’s structure.
- Weldability – needed to effectively connect the exchanger plates into one structure and guarantee its full tightness.
- Resistance to extremely low temperatures – in particular, the need to remain ductile at temperatures where other materials can crack.
- Heat transfer – must be at least the same or even better than aluminum – simply because the core made of polymer needs to perform the same or better in the terms of heat recovery efficiency.
The perfect material to make the cores of our recuperators had to comply with all the above bullets, with no exceptions.
Core made of Polymer
As a result of our research, we found a material suitable for our counterflow exchangers. Coming from the family of polymers, it has successfully passed all the tests we have subjected it to. The result:
- The plasticity of the material selected appeared good enough to make even deeper embossing than in the case of aluminum plates.
- It has perfectly passed the tests of susceptibility to ultrasonic welding, to the extent that after processing the edges become a uniform, completely sealed structure.
- The material that we decided to use easily withstands work at temperatures down to -20 oC while retaining the necessary plasticity, so important in situations where icing may appear on the recuperator’s return airside.
- And finally, the thermal conductivity test – the result of which showed values high enough to obtain even higher heat recovery efficiency than in the case of cores made of aluminum.
What our Polymer Counterflow Recuperator can do…?
Eventually, we have succeeded to apply cutting-edge technology to the heat recovery branch. A counterflow heat recovery recuperator with the core made of polymer giving you even better performance in many fields.
First of all, the application of polymer plates instead of aluminum ones has contributed to heat recovery efficiency improvement. Having two recuperators of the same size and fin spacing, the recuperator with a core made of polymer plates higher recovery percentages than the one made of aluminum. Hard to believe, but it happens that we witness the dethronement of aluminum, which had to give way to polymer technology.
The monolith structure of the heat exchange core – resulting from ultrasonic welding of the edges of the plates keeps both airstreams perfectly separated. The cross-contamination effect is now even closer to Zero than ever.
Resistance to the effects of freezing
Our polymer plates keeping their plasticity at extremely low temperatures prevent core damage resulting from condensate freezing.
Where POLYMER cores can be applied?
- Practically to all standard applications, regardless of the intensity of condensation on the exchanger. We have full resistance of the material to intensive spraying/
- Food industry – as the polymer plates are resistant to small concentrations of acids (e.g. acetic). This material is fully approved for contact with food.
Where they can not?
However (to be honest), there may be situations in which polymer cores are not the best solution. So, go with exchangers made of aluminum every time your ventilation system is handling:
- chemical solvents, refrigerants, and fuels warehouses
- plastic producing facilities
- wineries and warehouses of wine, beer, and spirits
- facilities where the air may be contaminated with chlorine
- facilities with production processes requiring air temperature above 60 °C.