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Colton Jiorle

Electroformed Heat Pipe Heat Exchanger

Colton Jiorle ’25

Faculty Mentor(s):
Dr. Nate Siegel, Mechanical Engineering
Funding Source:
STEM Scholars

As the necessity to shift towards renewable forms of energy becomes ever more apparent in the wake of the consequences of climate change, one major barrier that has largely yet to be solved is the problem of energy storage. It is technologically possible to meet our energy demands solely with renewables, and likely many times over. However, when energy is generated is a critical factor to meet our necessary load demands each day and when most renewables are active is not controllable. Many different forms of energy storage already exist but with many issues such as cost, scaling, and environmental impact. We are exploring the development of low-cost energy storage mediums, such as salt, sand, or dirt. However, these mediums have very low thermal conductivity and thus it becomes necessary to synthesize different techniques to accomplish a feasible storage method. Principally, we are investigating the combination of a heat pipe and the topology of a bio-inspired heat exchanger. The highly complex geometries under consideration would possess a high surface area to volume ratio, facilitating conduction in low-conductivity media, but must be fabricated with non-traditional techniques such as electroforming. If we are able to successfully incorporate both of these elements into a thermal energy storage, it would lead to the cheap and economical storage of energy allowing us to justify larger scale use of renewable energy within our power grid.

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