• Edgar Romero

  • Theme:Chemical Energy Converters
  • Project:Semi-empirical design of additively manufactured minimal surfaces for heat exchanger applications
  • Supervisor:Oliver Pountney
  • Industry Partner: GKN
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Edgar completed his MEng in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Surrey in 2019. With the CDT in Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems, he saw an extraordinary opportunity to help tackle the multiple sustainability challenges of this generation. His research interests include thermo-mechanical simulations and experiments, software-based solutions and sustainable propulsion technologies for ground, air and space vehicles. He is an AMIMechE and hopes to remain involved in academia, continue to collaborate with industry and contribute to tackling the climate crisis and the sustainability challenges of our time. Among his personal interests are movies, music, politics and science. 

Research Journey: Year 3


Following Confirmation, the focus of my work has been on two fronts: firstly, producing a computational workflow capable of generating the heat exchanger geometries I want to test and analyse. Secondly, assembling the heat exchanger test rig on which I will test the specimens.

Thanks to the professional background of my original lead supervisor (and his work in collaboration with a previous student), we currently have a successful workflow based on Matlab and Fusion360 that allows us to create a range of Triply Periodic Minimal Surfaces (very trippy geometries defined via mathematical functions). The workflow has the main limitation of being very depending on processing power for large lattices (more than around 500) when compared with professional, paid software solutions. However, once converted to a conventional BRep format within Fusion360, it can be modelled as with any other geometry created in CAD. This makes integration with other objects in CAD very easy, and it makes operations with conventional objects very easy as well. For instance, we have introduced 1mm channels within some lattices to measure static pressure in dozens of locations.

The experimental rig requires some calibration work, but most challenges have been solved, such as the manifold design which could have had an unwanted impact on the quality of the oncoming flow. The main uncertainties are the maximum heater effectiveness and the pressure drop ranges we can expect from the specimens. Fortunately these can both be solved without excessive cost or delays.

Most of the current effort is focused on actually fabricating the geometries. After the in-house 3D printer broke, we managed to put together some resources that will allow us to outsource the first batch of prints. Even more luckily, the in-house printer was swiftly fixed, so we will be able to use it to expand on the geometries we test. Once the first batch is delivered, we will begin to gather data and calibrate the rig.

Graphic of design for Edgar's project

© Copyright 2021 AAPS CDT, Centre for Doctoral Training in Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems at the University of Bath