Conformal cooling (CC) channels are a series of cooling channels that are equidistant from the mold cavity surfaces. CC systems show great promise to substitute conventional straight-drilled cooling systems as the former can provide more uniform and efficient cooling effects and thus improve the production quality and efficiency significantly. Although the design and manufacturing of CC systems are getting increasing attention, a comprehensive and systematic classification, comparison, and evaluation are still missing. The design, manufacturing, and applications of CC channels are reviewed and evaluated systematically and comprehensively in this review paper. To achieve a uniform and rapid cooling, some key design parameters of CC channels related to shape, size, and location of the channel have to be calculated and chosen carefully taking into account the cooling performance, mechanical strength, and coolant pressure drop. CC layouts are classified into eight types. The basic type, more complex types, and hybrid straight-drilled-CC molds are suitable for simply-shaped parts, complex-shaped parts, and locally complex parts, respectively. By using CC channels, the cycle time can be reduced up to 70%, and the shape deviations can be improved significantly. Epoxy casting and L-PBF show the best applicability to Al-epoxy molds and metal molds, respectively, because of the high forming flexibility and fidelity. Meanwhile, LPD has an exclusive advantage to fabricate multi-materials molds although it cannot print overhang regions directly. Hybrid L-PBF/CNC milling pointed out the future direction for the fabrication of high dimensional-accuracy CC molds, although there is still a long way to reduce the cost and raise efficiency. CC molds are expected to substitute straight-drilled cooling molds in the future, as it can significantly improve part quality, raise production rate and reduce production cost. In addition to this, the use of CC channels can be expanded to some advanced products that require high-performance self-cooling, such as gas turbine engines, photoinjectors and gears, improving working conditions and extending lifetime.
|Tijdschrift||International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer|
|Status||Published - jun-2021|