Hydrodynamic Parameters of Micro Porous Media for Steady and Oscillatory Flow: Application to Cryocooler Regenerators
Cha, Jeesung Jeff
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Pulse Tube Cryocoolers (PTC) is widely used in aerospace and missile guiding systems where extreme reliability and ruggedness are crucial. PTCs, in particular, are a class of rugged refrigeration systems that are capable of maintaining temperatures as low as 4 K, without a moving part in their cold end. The operation of PTCs is based on complicated and poorly-understood solid-fluid interactions involving periodic flows of a cryogenic fluid in micro porous structures. Currently, PTCs is often modeled as one-dimensional flow fields using methods whose relevance to cryocoolers is at best questionable. Furthermore, recent CFD-based investigations have underscored the need for adequate closure relations representing periodic flows in anisotropic micro porous media, and have shown that multi-dimensional effects can be significant in PTCs. The objectives of this investigation were to experimentally measure and correlate the anisotropic hydrodynamic parameters for typical micro porous structures that are used in the regenerators of PTCs fillers; perform modeling and CFD-based simulations to elucidate the component and system-level thermo-fluidic processes in modern pulse tube cryocooler designs; and perform a preliminary CFD-based assessment of the effect of miniaturization on the thermal performance of a current PTC design. In the experiments, the measurement and correlation of the directional (axial and radial) permeabilities and Forchheimer s inertial coefficients of meshed screen, sintered mesh, foam metal, and stacked micro-machined plate regenerator fillers were of interest. Hydrodynamic parameters under steady-state conditions were addressed first. Pressure drops were measured for purely axial flow in cylindrical test sections and predominantly radial flows in annular test sections that contained regenerator fillers of interest, under steady-state conditions. The permeabilities and Forchheimer s inertial coefficients were then obtained in an iterative process where agreement between the data and the predictions of detailed CFD simulations addressing the entire test sections and their surroundings were sought. Periodic flows were then addressed. Using high frequency pressure transducers and hot wire anemometry, instantaneous pressures and mass fluxes are measured under periodic purely axial flow conditions. CFD simulations of the experiments were then performed, whereby permeabilities and Forchheimer coefficients that bring about agreement between data and simulation results were calculated.