The MDO Lab is working with researchers at the NASA Glenn Research Center and Jet Propulsion Laboratory to evaluate a novel thermal management technology for use on a future hybrid electric commercial transport aircraft. Proposed by Dr. Rodger Dyson (NASA Glenn), the technology uses acoustic waves, generated with heat from the jet engines, to distribute energy to cool the aircraft’s batteries, electric motors, and other components. Thermoacoustic engine technology may be more efficient, lighter, and simpler than conventional methods to actively cool components.
MDO Lab researchers are using OpenConcept, their open-source aircraft design software, to size the thermoacoustic thermal management system and analyze its effectiveness for a 737-sized parallel hybrid electric aircraft. Based on the results, the technology will be incorporated into a full-scale powertrain demonstration in the near future.