ARLINGTON, Va. - The Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Technology Institute recently called for bids on a research project to identify materials that will improve heat exchanger efficiency.

The HVACR industry has historically used designs such as fin-and-tube or plate heat exchangers. According to the institute, recent advances in material science have yielded new concepts in heat exchanger design with construction materials that could increase heat transfer or reduce size and potentially, cost. These materials include metal or carbon foams, lattice structures, as well as new components using polymeric materials. Though some of these materials have been used for heat exchangers in other industries, the ARTI claims that little has been done to investigate their use in conventional HVACR systems.

The goal of the research project is to identify which of these materials may be applicable for use in HVACR systems and to compare them with conventional copper and aluminum materials. The project will also try to determine which parts of a heat exchanger would benefit from the new materials, and assess manufacturing issues.

Proposals for the project were due July 28. For more information on the program,