Imperial College London


Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Chemical Engineering

Reader in Process Systems Engineering



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BibTex format

author = {Wang, Y and Markides, CN and Chachuat, B},
doi = {10.1186/s42480-019-0019-3},
journal = {BMC Chemical Engineering},
title = {Optimization-based investigations of a two-phase thermofluidic oscillator for low-grade heat conversion},
url = {},
volume = {1},
year = {2019}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - BackgroundThe non-inertive-feedback thermofluidic engine (NIFTE) is a two-phase thermofluidic oscillator capable of utilizing heat supplied at a steady temperature to induce persistent thermal-fluid oscillations. The NIFTE is appealing in its simplicity and ability to operate across small temperature differences, reported as low as 30 C in early prototypes. But it is also expected that the NIFTE will exhibit low efficiencies relative to conventional heat recovery technologies that target higher-grade heat conversion. Mathematical modeling can help assess the full potential of the NIFTE technology.ResultsOur analysis is based on a nonlinear model of the NIFTE, which we extend to encompass irreversible thermal losses. Both models predict that a NIFTE may exhibit multiple cyclic steady states (CSS) for certain design configurations, either stable or unstable, a behavior that had never been hypothesized. A parametric analysis of the main design parameters of the NIFTE is then performed for both models. The results confirm that failure to include the irreversible thermal losses in the NIFTE model can grossly overpredict its performance, especially over extended parameter domains. Lastly, we use the NIFTE model with irreversible thermal losses to assess the optimization potential of this technology by conducting a multi-objective optimization. Our results reveal that most of the optimization potential is achievable via targeted modifications of three design parameters only. The Pareto frontier between exergetic efficiency and power output is also found to be highly sensitive to these optimized parameters.ConclusionsThe NIFTE is of practical relevance to a range of applications, including the development of solar-driven pumps to support small-holder irrigation in the developing world. Given its low capital cost, potential improvements greater than 50% in efficiency or power output are significant for the uptake of this technology. Conventional heat recovery technologies a
AU - Wang,Y
AU - Markides,CN
AU - Chachuat,B
DO - 10.1186/s42480-019-0019-3
PY - 2019///
SN - 2524-4175
TI - Optimization-based investigations of a two-phase thermofluidic oscillator for low-grade heat conversion
T2 - BMC Chemical Engineering
UR -
UR -
VL - 1
ER -