Patrick S. McNeff, Brian K. Paul, Ömer N. Doğan, Kyle A. Rozman, Sean Kissick, Hailei Wang, M. Kevin Drost, Brian M. Fronk

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Printed circuit heat exchangers (PCHX) fabricated from high nickel alloys have shown promise as primary heat exchangers, recuperators, and solar receivers for high temperature and pressure supercritical carbon dioxide power cycles. There are numerous challenges in fabricating these devices including forming channel features, joining via diffusion or transient liquid phase bonding, and brazing/welding of headers. Commercial entities are understandably hesitant to share propriety best practices, and both commercial and noncommercial entities working on these components tend not to publically share failures and mistakes. However, sharing of this information could prevent similar costly errors and further the understanding of the coupled manufacturing, materials and mechanics issues in creating these components. Thus, in this paper, we document the challenges, failures, and mitigation methods uncovered in fabrication of prototype micro-pin based solar thermal receivers constructed of Haynes 230 and fabricated through a combination of photochemical machining (PCM), wire electrical discharge machining (EDM), transient liquid phase (TLP) bonding, vacuum brazing, and gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW). The receiver is designed to absorb concentrated solar fluxes greater than 140 W cm-2, while heating supercritical carbon dioxide from 550 °C to 720 °C at a pressure of 20 MPa to 25 MPa. The prototype receiver consists of a thin (~ 450 µm), Haynes 230 coversheet bonded to a 15 cm × 15 cm Haynes 230 micro-pin plate. The pieces are joined using a TLP bonding process with a nickel-phosphorus interlayer. Prior to bonding, micro-pins with height ~150 µm and diameter 300 µm are fabricated using PCM in the plate, and through slot features are made using wire EDM. Finally, flow headers are joined to the microchannel plate through a combination of vacuum brazing and GTAW. During hydrostatic proof testing, the prototype device failed when the coversheet delaminated from the pin array at a pressure of 290 bar. A failure analysis including scanning electron microscopy (SEM) to view failure sites and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) to evaluate elemental analysis of the failed areas was conducted. The failure modes can be broadly categorized as (1) failures potentially relating to reliquification of the transient liquid phase bonds between the micro-pins plate and coversheet during post-processing, (2) failures related to manufacturing defects, and (3) failures attributed to design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)180-189
Number of pages10
JournalConference Proceedings of the European sCO2 Conference
StatePublished - 2019
Event3rd European Conference on Supercritical CO2 Power Systems, sCO2 2019 - Paris, France
Duration: Sep 19 2019Sep 20 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Energy (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)

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