Temperatures are dropping and people prefer to escape to the cozy warmth of their own homes. At the same time, domestic heating systems and their efficiency are becoming more important. In the increasingly complex and optimized systems of a heating system, the fittings and pipelines, the unpleasant properties of the most commonly used heat conductor, water, are becoming more and more apparent. Manfred Aigner, a graduate of the Environmental, Process and Energy Engineering program, dedicated his master's thesis to this problem. Together with the thesis supervisor, Alexander Dumfort, he investigated the pitfalls and challenges of modern heating installations.
Heating systems should be as efficient as possible, which also increases the demands on the materials that are used. New materials and compact designs are being used more and more. This, of course, also raises the demands on the heat exchanger. Fortunately, the omnipresent material water fulfills this most important property particularly well. It transports heat particularly efficiently.
Unfortunately, however, water also has negative characteristics as a heat transfer medium. In interaction with various materials, it can have a corrosive effect and quickly endanger thin-walled parts of the system. In addition, this combination is capable of forming deposits seemingly out of nowhere, which unnecessarily slow down the desired heat transfer. This results in insulation that is anything but welcome in this form in a heating installation.
These unfavorable side effects of water must be counteracted at the molecular level. Manfred Aigner and Alexander Dumfort have devoted themselves to precisely this challenge and have taken a close look at the weakest link of heating systems. In their final thesis, they not only explained the current weaknesses in filling such systems in an understandable way, they also showed how to skillfully balance the critical parameters of pH-value and conductivity of water. By implementing these findings in practice, there will be no reduction in performance or even risk associated with heating water in the future.
Manfred Aigner and Alexander Dumfort thoroughly check heating systems; Foto: MCI