Carnegie Mellon University


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Technoeconomic Analysis of Laser Powder Bed Fusion to Produce High-Performance Metal Heat Exchangers

posted on 2023-09-22, 19:51 authored by Tracey Ziev

Additive manufacturing (AM) is a promising option to deliver manufacturing innovation needed to produce the high performance heat exchangers (HX) needed to advance clean energy technologies. While AM has great potential to address HX manufacturing challenges, it also presents cost and environmental challenges. In Chapter 2, I evaluate laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) AM costs for an HX design for concentrating solar power (CSP) with molten salt thermal storage using process-based cost modeling (PBCM). I use this PBCM to identify HX design and LPBF process changes that reduce projected HX cost from $750/kW-th to $220/kW-th. I also identify pathways to further reduce projected cost to $140-160/kW-th by leveraging cutting-edge advances in LPBF technology. In Chapter 3, I extend the PBCM to evaluate alternative CSP HX designs and to enable co-optimization of cost and performance for HX designs for other clean energy applications. In Chapter 4, I characterize the impact of applying productivity improvement strategies for HX on LPBF part cost, speed, and quality via expert elicitation. I find that experts believe that increasing the part footprint is more detrimental to print success than increasing part height. Experts also believe that beam shaping is expected to provide limited print time improvement while improving part quality, whereas going from one to two lasers is expected to provide a moderate print time improvement but degrade part quality. I incorporate expert quantitative insights into the Chapter 2 PBCM and show that the uncertainty in build success rates for large parts dominates expected cost reductions from laser beam shaping or multi laser printing. In Chapter 5, I develop a framework to track metal mass flows through the AM process that comprehensively accounts for sources of uncertainty to enable comparison of various powder production processes. Through a case study of SS316 gas atomization and LPBF, I find that higher AM quality powder yields significantly reduced AM cumulative energy demand (CED), even within the range typical for gas atomization. I also find that for CED of a printed part, AM powder CED impacts part CED less than LPBF part acceptance rate. 




Degree Type

  • Dissertation


  • Engineering and Public Policy

Degree Name

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Parth Vaishnav