Development and Validation of a Compact Thermal Model for an Aircraft Compartment

Marco Geron, Colin Butler, Jason Stafford, David Newport

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
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The development of accurate structural/thermal numerical models of complex systems, such as aircraft fuselage barrels, is often limited and determined by the smallest scales that need to be modelled. The development of reduced order models of the smallest scales and consequently their integration with higher level models can be a way to minimise the bottle neck present, while still having efficient, robust and accurate numerical models. In this paper a methodology on how to develop compact thermal fluid models (CTFMs) for compartments where mixed convection regimes are present is demonstrated. Detailed numerical simulations (CFD) have been developed for an aircraft crown compartment and validated against experimental data obtained from a 1:1 scale compartment rig. The crown compartment is defined as the confined area between the upper fuselage and the passenger cabin in a single aisle commercial aircraft. CFD results were utilised to extract average quantities (temperature and heat fluxes) and characteristic parameters (heat transfer coefficients) to generate CTFMs. The CTFMs have then been compared with the results obtained from the detailed models showing average errors for temperature predictions lower than 5%. This error can be deemed acceptable when compared to the nominal experimental error associated with the thermocouple measurements.

The CTFMs methodology developed allows to generate accurate reduced order models where accuracy is restricted to the region of Boundary Conditions applied. This limitation arises from the sensitivity of the internal flow structures to the applied boundary condition set. CTFMs thus generated can be then integrated in complex numerical modelling of whole fuselage sections.

Further steps in the development of an exhaustive methodology would be the implementation of a logic ruled based approach to extract directly from the CFD simulations numbers and positions of the nodes for the CTFM.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65–74
JournalApplied Thermal Engineering
Issue number2
Early online date17 Jul 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • CFD
  • Compact Models


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