Pressure loss and heat transfer performance for additively and conventionally manufactured pin fin arrays

Kathryn L. Kirsch, Karen A. Thole

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Pin fin heat exchangers represent a common, viable means of keeping components cool and are widely used for electronics cooling and turbine airfoil cooling. Advancements in manufacturing technology will allow these heat exchangers to be built using new methods, such as laser powder bed fusion, a form of additive manufacturing. New manufacturing approaches, however, render a direct comparison between newly and conventionally manufactured parts meaningless without a good understanding of the difference in the performance. This research study investigated microchannel pin fin arrays that were manufactured using Laser Powder Bed Fusion and compared them to studies of pin fin arrays from the literature, which are representative of traditionally-manufactured pin fin arrays, where the pin and endwall surfaces exhibited much lower surface roughness. Pin fin arrays with four different spacings were manufactured and tested over a range of Reynolds numbers; pressure loss and heat transfer measurements were taken. Additionally, the test coupons were evaluated nondestructively and the as-built geometric features were analyzed. Measured surface roughness was found to be extremely high in each one of the microchannel pin fin arrays and was found to be a function of the pin spacing in the array, as was the shape of the pin itself; with more pins in the array came higher surface roughness and more distorted pin shapes. Comparisons between the smooth pin fin arrays from literature and the rough pin fin arrays from the current study showed that the high surface roughness more strongly affected the friction factor augmentation than it did the heat transfer augmentation relative to the smooth pin fin arrays.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2502-2513
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer
StatePublished - 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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