Office for Technology Commercialization

Improved Heat Transfer with Tilted-Interrupted-Plate Heat Exchanger

Technology #20140309

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Plate-type heat exchangerParallel Flow Channel
Terrence W. Simon, PhD
Professor, Mechanical Engineering, College of Science and Engineering
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Managed By
Kevin Nickels
Technology Licensing Officer 612-625-7289

Increased Heat Transfer Capability

A new heat exchanger design has a 50% increase in heat transfer capability over traditional plate heat exchangers. Existing plate-type heat exchanger technology aligns plate elements in the same axial direction as the flow channel, so the mean flow is parallel to the plates. In this unique, new design, interrupted plate arrays are tilted from the axial direction at an angle that maximizes heat transfer.

Tilted-Interrupted-Plate Heat Exchanger

This innovative technology employs three-dimensionally-interrupted plates that are separated and parallel in one layer and perpendicular to the parallel plates in the adjacent layers. Then, by tilting the heat exchanger axis from the axial direction of the flow channel, the flow is guided into a zigzag and spiral pattern inside the exchanger, enhancing flow mixing and heat transfer capability by about 50% over traditional plate heat exchangers.

Inexpensive and Easy Fabrication

By using 3D printing, this tilted-interrupted-plate heat exchanger can be easily and inexpensively fabricated, in either metal or plastic, and is scalable to a size that fits each application. Such applications may include compressed gas storage, HVAC, cooling and refrigerating, Stirling engines, nuclear reactors, engines, gas turbines and a host of other heat management applications.


  • Improves heat transfer capability by about 50% as compared to the standard design
  • 3D printing fabrication is comparatively inexpensive and allows for the part to be scalable based on buyers’ needs
  • Plates are tilted at an angle from the axial direction of the flow channel, which maximizes heat transfer through device
  • Using parallel and perpendicular stacked plates allows heat to pass through the system through open channels

Phase of Development Proof of Concept