Simplified CFD Model for Assessing the Cooling Channel Design in 3D Printed High-Pressure Tools for Aluminium Alloy Casting

Essam Abo-Serie, James Jewkes, Tongyan Zeng, Yuancheng Liang

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    Additive manufacturing (AM) provides significant geometric design freedom for the cooling of high pressure die casting (HPDC) tools. Designing cooling channels that can achieve a uniform temperature throughout the tool-cast interface during the moulding process can limit part warping and sink marks, internal part stresses, and increase tool life. However, the design of the embedded cooling channels requires high computational resources to model the heat transfer process for the cast, mould, and coolant from the moment aluminium is injected into the cavity until the injection for the next cycle. To enable the examination of the effect of various parameters, a simplified 3-D CFD conjugate heat transfer model is introduced by considering the experimental observations. The model decouples the cast part from the mould. A volumetric heat source term is added to the energy equation to represent the solidification energy, and accordingly the heat flux is evaluated on its surface that has been set to a uniform temperature. The heat flux is then compared with that obtained from the mould surface for a specific cooling channel layout. With this approach it is possible for the designer to rapidly assess the cooling system without incurring significant computational cost. The model reveals the undercooled and overcooled regions, which are then matched with the observational results obtained by analysing the tools and the aluminium cast surface. The results prove that the model can be employed to develop a baseline design of the cooling channel network for a complex geometry before applying an optimisation technique. It can also be useful for assessing the effect of various parameters, and to carry out a parametric sensitivity study with limited computational cost. The limitations of the model are evaluated and discussed in this work.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number2021-01-0270
    Number of pages8
    JournalSAE Technical Papers
    Issue number2021
    Publication statusPublished - 6 Apr 2021

    Bibliographical note

    © 2021 SAE International.

    Copyright © and Moral Rights are retained by the author(s) and/ or other copyright owners. A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge. This item cannot be reproduced or quoted extensively from without first obtaining permission in writing from the copyright holder(s). The content must not be changed in any way or sold commercially in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders.


    The author would like to acknowledge CastAlum Team for their contribution and the technical support. The authors would like also to acknowledge Innovate UK project no P16874 for the financial fund. Publisher Copyright: © 2021 SAE International. All Rights Reserved.


    • Conformal cooling
    • cast die cooling
    • thermal model of HPDC
    • HPDC tools channel design
    • CFD thermal model

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
    • Pollution
    • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
    • Automotive Engineering


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