Generic Dynamic Model for a Range of Thermal System Components

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The simulation of a thermal system consists of a simulation of its components and their interactions. The advantages of thermal system simulations have been widely recognized. They can be used to explore the performance of a newly designed system, to identify whether the design meets the design criteria, to develop and test controls, and to optimize the system by minimizing the cost or power consumption, and maximizing the energy efficiency and/or capacity. Thermal system simulations can also be applied to existing systems to explore prospective modifications and improvements.

        Much research has been conducted on aspects of thermal system and component simulation, especially for steady-state simulation. Recently, transient simulations for systems and components have gained attention, since dynamic modeling assists the understanding of the operation of thermal systems and their controls.  

       This research presents the development of a generic component model that allows users to easily create and customize any thermal component with a choice of working fluids and levels of complexity for either transient or steady-state simulation.  The underlying challenge here is to design the code such that a single set of governing equations can be used to accurately describe the behavior of any component of interest.  The inherent benefits to this approach are that maintenance of the code is greatly facilitated as compared to competing approaches, and that the software is internally consistent.  This generic model features a user-friendly description of component geometry and operating conditions, interactive data input and output, and a robust component solver. 

            The open literature pertaining to thermal component models, especially the components of vapor compression systems, is reviewed and commented on in this research.  A theoretical evaluation of the problem formulation and solution methodology is conducted and discussed. A generic structure is proposed and developed to simulate thermal components by enabling and disabling a portion of the set of governing equations.  In addition, a system solver is developed to solve a system composed of these components. The component/system model is validated with experimental data, and future work is outlined.