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Air-Hydrogen Heat Exchanger


Research on Fundamental Problems of Heat Transfer Intensification in Air-Hydrogen Heat Exchanger

Tech Area / Field

  • SAT-STM/Spacecraft Trajectories and Mechanics/Space, Aircraft and Surface Transportation

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Kulikov G G

Leading Institute
TsIAM (Aviation Motors), Russia, Moscow


  • AIRBUS Industrie, France, Blagnac\nIber Espacio Tecnologia Aerospacial, Spain, Madrid

Project summary

The purpose of investigations, that includes the present Project as a component, is the extending of the utilization of hydrogen as an effective and ecologically clean fuel for XXI century aviation engines. The Project aims to solve one of the main problems of such engines, that are the development of the high-effective Air-Hydrogen Heat Exchanger, precisely, the sharp decrease of its mass-and-size performance.

The transition to the hydrogen as a promising fuel for propulsion and power plants is not only determined by its high heat capacity but either by unique cool capacity performance. Particularly the cooling of the pressurizing working fluid (air) by use of fuel cool capacity increases the effectiveness of the engine thermodynamic cycle and utilizes the hydrogen advantages by the most complete manner. Moreover, the broad abundance of heat transfer technique allows to carry successfully the heat transfer achievements, would obtain, into other civil industry branches.

The creation of the high-effective Air-Hydrogen Heat Exchanger is determined by the solutions of complex fundamental problems, connected with heat transfer intensification. Also design-and-manufacturing solutions are demanded to maintain the absolute tightness and to assure necessary strength. The reality of such heat exchangers is already confirmed by the research, made in different countries. However, the existed structures do not provide the demanded mass-and-size performance of the heat exchanger, that is the main barrier to begin the broad introducing of heat exchangers into aviation engines, thus the additional fundamental research on this subject is needed. To overpass this obstacle, the special research was performed by CIAM, that demonstrated the possibility to decrease the mass of heat transfer surface by factor of 2...3, the main regime parameters being kept up constant, when heat transfer intensification method was introduced.

The purpose of nowadays investigations is the adoption of scientific results into real structures and the development of the heat exchanger, which does not only operate by proper manner but is quite competitive in mass-and-size performance. During last yeas CIAM pursued the wide investigations of such units. The necessary test benches have been created; the soft-ware for exchanger structure optimization by use of high-level mathematical models have been developed; one of the key problems of heat exchangers, that is the prevention of icing from atmospheric water moisture, has been solved at model level; the fundamental results on high-effective intensification methods have been obtained; investigations at the other important fields had been carried out (scheme and arrangement solutions, operation process stability, cool capacity increase etc.).

During the fundamental scientific research on this Project there will be obtained the physical dependencies and there will be developed the design solutions, all that are necessary to create light heat exchangers, would be interesting for many aerospace firms in Europe, USA, Japan and Russia.

Within the frameworks of the Project, it is planned:

- to investigate the influence of structure peculiarities, introduced for intensification, on heat transfer coefficients and hydraulic losses, to apply the intensification method to aviation air-hydrogen heat exchangers; the main distinction of involved method is its application to small diameter tubes (2...3 mm) that are specific for considering exchangers;
- to adjust the optimal shape of heat transfer surface and to manufacture the scale hydrogen-air heat exchanger with taking into account this optimal structure peculiarities;
- to obtain experimental performance of model exchanger and compare it with the results of computational modeling.

Experimental test plants and test benches in CIAM (after insignificant updating) are suggested to be used for experimental investigations. Mathematical models will be updated by empirical dependencies, obtained under testing of the heat exchanger surface prototypes.

The following fundamental results are expected to be obtained under ISTC Project fulfillment:

- the experimental adjustment of optimal shape of heat transfer surface, to introduce into developed heat exchanger, and the technology development for such surface producing;
- the air-hydrogen heat exchanger performance obtained at CIAM test bench and its comparison with calculated ones;
- the generalization of research results and the recommendations for the design of real air-hydrogen heat exchanger to decrease its mass by 2...3 times.

High-skill scientists, engineers and technicians, previously employed in investigation, designing and testing of weapon rocket equipment, are planned to be attracted to Project fulfillment. By this manner they will obtain an opportunity to participate in the solution of important global technical problem - the development of hydrogen technology and hydrogen aviation systems.

CIAM specialists have got scientific relations with aviation heat exchanger experts in USA, France, Germany, Great Britain, Japan. The work on proposed Project will also be indubitably interesting for these countries. CIAM had cooperated in involved field with such companies as SEP; Aerospatiale, AirLiquid (France) and results of the Project will be undoubtedly useful for them. Some other companies that are working in air-hydrogen heat exchanger field (as well as in common heat exchangers) may be Project collaborators too. The list of such organizations may include NAL, Mitsubishi Heavy Ind., IS AS (Japan), DAS A, MTU (Germany), NASA, Rockwell Int. (USA) et others. The results of Project may be used by mentioned possible partners to improve and perfect the heat exchangers they are developing.

The collaboration on Project had already been confirmed by IberEspacio, subsidiary of the French Space Propulsion company Societe Europeenne de Propulsion (SEP) and the Spanish company Empresarios Agrupados, dedicated to engineering and building of power plants. This company is now in charge of air cooling and liquefaction system and heat exchanger studies in ESA Future European Space Transportation Investigation Programme (FESTIP).


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