INI Power Systems (Now TriDEC) developed a highly-efficient electric generator for military applications. It is so compact that it can be carried in a soldier’s rucksack and is tough enough to endure battlefield deployment.
To run efficiently, the generator needed to operate within a narrow temperature range. But the generator might be deployed in a 135°F desert or a -60°F tundra. A method was needed to actively control the amount of cooling provided to different zones of the generator.
Size, weight, and reliability were of critical importance. Porticos engineers performed careful measurements and thermal simulations to figure out exactly how the cooling air was being directed around the different subsystems of the generator. The next step was to examine how that airflow should change to accommodate different ambient environments.
Porticos engineers used Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations to illustrate the limits of what could be accomplished with different potential solutions:
- Modifications to the fan
- Ancillary fans to increase airflow when needed
- Controlled restrictions or “baffles” to adjust the amount of cooling air directed to different zones.
Porticos showed that the best solution was actually a combination of techniques:
- Design a custom manifold to direct airflow.
- Optimize the fan for that application.
- Incorporate controlled restrictions to selectively reduce airflow (and cooling) when temperatures are low.
This approach resulted in a very modest increase in weight with no increase in size.
During the course of this project, Porticos engineers were asked to assist with many other problems including gear design, vibration damping, user controls, and performance validation/optimization. Porticos is proud that our client relied on us for so many aspects of this project.