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Recuperators and high temperature heat exchangers

Members of Brayton Energy team have been working on gas turbine for over 25 years. Though our team has not been together that long, engineers on our staff participated in numerous regenerator and recuperator projects over the years. Our team specializes in the most challenging heat exchanger applications, associated with high temperatures (600 to 1000 C), pressures from 3 to 30 bar, and environments involving high thermal gradients and transients. This diversity and depth of understanding has contributed to our new advanced recuperator and high temp heat exchanger products.

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The following chart highlights some of the direct experiences by the Brayton engineering staff.

Recuperator/ Regenerator History Chart

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Recuperator Testing

Brayton maintains and operates a range of recuperator testing and materials analysis equipment:

High temperature – high pressure recuperator creep furnace: This test equipment is designed to expose recuperators to static internal pressure and pressure. The microprocessor-controlled system’s operating limits are tabulated below. The “Hot box” is sized for sub-scale heat exchanger or cell testing, accepting a specimen of nominally 120 mm x 600mm x 900 mm. Brayton has successfully used this rig to validate the creep life of high temp heat exchangers, using the data to extrapolate life using a method analogous to the Larson-Miller methodology.

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Burst hydro-testing: Our facility is configured for destructive testing, operable to hydraulic pressures of 100 MPa (12,000 psi).

Heat exchanger manifold design and test rig: Brayton aerodynamicists have developed methods for optimizing headers and manifold design. Typically a 2-D flow table is built for each heat exchange, employing similitude methods. Precise static pressure mass flow and temperature measurements are combined with flow visualization techniques to characterize the components. The data is correlated with system models, including CFD tools to develop and optimize the complex matrix of geometric options.

Full-scale recuperator thermal testing and fatigue:
Using our facility air compressor (500 CFM, 350 psig) and occasionally rented compressors to supplement flow, and facility gas-heaters, Brayton has characterized the performance of large high temp heat exchanger modules. Measuring the thermal effectiveness requires close attention to flow profile, in addition to very accurate flow and temperature measurements. Likewise, fatigue life testing and model validation requires an in-depth understanding of thermal stress, combined with micro-thermal analysis. Brayton engineers and technicians have developed these skill over a 25 year career.

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Heat exchanger manifold design and test rig: Brayton aerodynamicists have developed methods for optimizing headers and manifold design. Typically a 2-D flow table is built for each heat exchange, employing similitude methods. Precise static pressure mass flow and temperature measurements are combined with flow visualization techniques to characterize the components. The data is correlated with system models, including CFD tools to develop and optimize the complex matrix of geometric options.

Full-scale recuperator thermal testing and fatigue: Using our facility air compressor (500 CFM, 350 psig) and occasionally rented compressors to supplement flow, and facility gas-heaters, Brayton has characterized the performance of large high temp heat exchanger modules. Measuring the thermal effectiveness requires close attention to flow profile, in addition to very accurate flow and temperature measurements. Likewise, fatigue life testing and model validation requires an in-depth understanding of thermal stress, combined with micro-thermal analysis. Brayton engineers and technicians have developed these skill over a 25 year career.

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