Advanced Heat Exchanger (HEX) Scaling Methodologies for High-Performance Aircraft

Period of Performance: 05/28/2009 - 08/28/2011


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

P.c. Krause & Assoc., Inc.
3000 Kent Avenue, Suite C1-100
West Lafayette, IN 47906
Principal Investigator


The current thermal management effort for high performance aircraft focuses much attention on more efficient energy rejection through the development of advanced heat exchanger technologies. PC Krause and Associates (PCKA) is currently filling a much-needed gap of scaling and performance knowledge in the Air Force Phase I SBIR effort. 3-D computational fluid dynamics models have been constructed, which have been shown to accurately predict microstructured heat sink performance where conventional analysis methods fail. The ability to collapse high-fidelity data into a performance database is allowing PCKA to develop a rapid analysis software package for advanced heat exchangers. In Phase II, PCKA will team with both Honeywell Aerospace and Mezzo Technologies Inc., two manufacturers of candidate heat exchangers. This collaboration will enable the application of the analysis tool to near-term heat exchanger design projects, in addition to providing validation, manufacturing, and non-core effect information to the analysis method. PCKA will expand the modeling and simulation effort to encompass additional heat exchanger designs, materials, working fluids, operating conditions, and the true dynamic response of candidate heat exchangers. The software tool to be developed in Phase II directly addresses the stated goal of this project: accelerating the design concept to development to fabrication timeframes. BENEFITS: Many advantages of the Phase II proposed work are unique to PCKAs 3-D conjugate methodology, including fast and accurate HX core sizing, accurate prediction of microscale energy transport, transient response, and local property distributions. This capability will alleviate one major drawback- design uncertainty- that has prevented widespread commercial application of microstructured heat exchanger technologies. The ability to accurately design advanced heat exchangers using a rapid analysis tool will have a large impact on their manufacturing and testing, precluding the need for expensive trial-and-error fabrication. Thermal management modeling of strike aircraft will be able to include accurate, systems-level representation of these critical heat transfer components.