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Air Flow and Cooling of Rocker Panel

Jonathan Cooper, Lorenzo Sanders, James Kiel, Anna Mills and Jad Farran

MI Metals, Inc., wants to change their current cooling method for a specific aluminum part used on doors. Their cooling approach deforms the metal and increases the number of low-quality parts. Currently, they use air via blowers and water to cool the product from 950°F to 400°F in one minute. The new design must keep the floor dry to prevent workplace hazards. 

The mass of parts produced each hour is a measure of the design productivity. Having fewer defects on each part upholds or increases production standards. Research on properties of this specific metal helps understand why defects occur. 

Knowing the how much heat to remove from cooling the part to meet or improve the current rate of production is important. The work involves supplying the cooling tank with a chiller to make the water colder during the process. 

We used computer software analysis to find the best conditions to cool the part. The calculation assumes a steady state flow where the fluid properties don’t change over time. We used water vapor to reduce splashing onto the floor and then pumped the vapor into a contained tunnel around the conveyor belt. Hoses attach from the water tank underneath to the mist sprinklers in the tunnel box. 

This new cooling method can improve aluminum production in many different industries. Aluminum products without defects last longer and have better quality, allowing manufacturers to increase customer satisfaction and profit.

Team Members (L to R):
Jonathan Cooper, Lorenzo Sanders, James Kiel, Anna Mills and Jad Farran
Fumitake Kametani, Ph.D.
MI Metals