With climate change posing increasing risks, the Advisory Council for Aviation Research and Innovation in Europe (ACARE) aims to reduce CO2 emissions by 75% and NOx emissions by 90% per passenger kilometer by 2050, compared to a baseline aircraft from 2000. The ARENA project addr
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With climate change posing increasing risks, the Advisory Council for Aviation Research and Innovation in Europe (ACARE) aims to reduce CO2 emissions by 75% and NOx emissions by 90% per passenger kilometer by 2050, compared to a baseline aircraft from 2000. The ARENA project addresses this by developing a waste heat recovery system using aircraft engine exhaust gases, improving fuel efficiency. This thesis focuses on integrating the condenser of such a system into the propulsion unit, aiming to minimize drag from the ram air cooling duct by evaluating different heat exchanger topologies and duct designs.
The study uses the IMOTHEP Distributed fans Research Aircraft with electric Generators by ONERA (DRAGON) concept, a hybrid electric aircraft with two tail-mounted turbogenerators. The research proceeds in several stages. Initially, a multipass-condenser's potential to reduce pressure drop was examined by adjusting the heat exchanger blockage factor per pass, but results showed no reduction in pressure drop.
Next, a lumped parameter model was developed to analyze drag, pressure drop, temperature increase, and ram air duct length. This model evaluated the sensitivity of duct geometrical parameters on the drag recovery factor—a dimensionless number indicating net thrust. Findings revealed that inclining the heat exchanger efficiently increases the drag recovery factor, while the diffuser area ratio has a similar effect but is less space-efficient. The mass flow rate ratio showed less sensitivity, and fin height or pitch had the smallest effect on drag recovery.
Using the lumped parameter model, an optimal preliminary ram air duct design was identified for different spatial constraints. The study found that inline plain tube bundle and flat tube offset strip fin heat exchangers provided more compact solutions with higher drag recovery factors. For large diffuser-blocked area fractions, optimal duct geometry remained independent of heat exchanger type, characterized by a 70-degree maximum inclination angle, a 0.7 mass flow rate ratio, and maximized diffuser area ratio within spatial constraints.
A verification study of the lumped parameter model was conducted using a two-dimensional Reynolds Averaging Navier Stokes (RANS) computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis with k-ω SST turbulence and a porous zone to mimic the heat exchanger. The CFD analysis confirmed the lumped parameter model's predictions, with a 0.8% difference in drag recovery factor for optimal duct geometry. Across various geometries, the mean absolute difference in drag recovery factor between models was 1.082%, with a standard deviation of 0.584%.
In conclusion, integrating the condenser in the propulsion unit within spatial constraints results in positive thrust, thus supporting Meredith's 1935[2] claim. This integration reduces net drag and improves overall efficiency, contributing to significant emission reductions in line with ACARE's targets.