Design and characterization of an additive manufactured hydraulic oil cooler

Brandon J. Hathaway, Kunal Garde, Susan C. Mantell, Jane H. Davidson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


A hydraulic oil cooler was fabricated from an aluminum alloy by selective laser melting. The plate-fin tube bank has special features, including non-circular, internally finned tubes, and external angled fins to allow flexibility in the printing process. The study demonstrates the capability to additively manufacture commercial-scale heat exchangers with intricate features. Heat transfer and pressure drop performance are characterized in a wind tunnel over a range of oil- and air-side flow rates for inlet temperatures representing high limits for a commercial hydraulic excavator. The data and results of a computational fluid dynamic model provide insight on the impact of features that are dictated by the manufacturing process on thermal and hydraulic performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)188-200
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer
StatePublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was funded by the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP), an NSF Engineering Research Center, under cooperative agreement NSF/EEC 0540834. Michael Gust at the University of Minnesota CCEFP provided invaluable help in coordinating with industry and understanding hydraulic systems and the requirements for the oil cooler. The heat exchanger was manufactured at the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). We acknowledge the helpful input of Jonaaron Jones and Lonnie Love at ORNL on additive manufacturing and in carrying out additive manufacturing of test prints and the heat exchanger prototype. Experimental characterization was performed Adams Thermal Engineering. We acknowledge the contributions of Austin Flakingham, Chief Engineer, Curt Linstrom, Product Development Manager, and Lee Pechous, Test Lab Supervisor for their invaluable support and insightful discussions during testing and development. The stock heat exchanger was supplied by CNH Industrial.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017

Copyright 2017 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • 3D printing
  • Additive manufacturing
  • Heat exchanger
  • Off-set strip fins
  • Oil cooler
  • Tube bank


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