Conflux Technology uses the Australian Synchrotron as part of our heat exchanger development process. It’s a unique tool in our R&D workflow – here’s why…

Using additive manufacturing to build our heat exchangers has significant geometrical advantages not possible with brazing or subtractive manufacturing processes. However, this technology also brings new challenges to overcome. Identifying possible failures in thin walls can be hard with complex internal geometry in a monolithic component. The Synchrotron allows us to see anomalies hidden inside completed parts by way of CT (a technique of displaying a representation of a cross section)

The Australian Synchrotron (located in Clayton, Victoria) uses electrons to produce intense beams of light more than a million times brighter than the sun. Traveling at about 299,792kms (186,282mps) the Synchrotron applies magnetic fields to ‘synchronise’ and force these high energy electrons into a circular orbit. The perturbation of these electrons results in an intense beam of x-rays that can be harnessed to investigate our heat exchangers on a sub-macroscopic level.

With the scale and resolution this gives, our inspection capability is vastly increased. The process of sorting through up to a terabyte of cross section data is considerable. We have developed proprietary analysis software ‘Conflux Quantify’ to analyse wall thickness, surface roughness and feature distances. It also allows us to detect and identify any structural anomalies much quicker than a manual review process by our team.

As we know, not all parameters are created equal.

In the accompanying video, the circular images represent a cross section of two micro tubes – one is built using “standard” parameters, the second using Conflux’s custom parameters. Note the increase in density and improved form resolution of the Conflux part. The Conflux custom parameters improve part performance outcomes through improved density and consistent form quality.

Using the Synchotron in this process allows us to verify the outcomes of our custom parameter development as well as inspecting for critical defects. The end result for our customers is improved performance, increased part quality and reduced development times.