Green Design

Cool and Green: Vehicle Thermal Management

Compounding these difficulties, CO2 has not been established as a global standard. On the contrary, the US has no plans to discontinue HFC-134a, and China has made major investments in producing HFC-134a. Moreover, fluorocarbon suppliers are actively pursuing alternative blends such as HFO- 1234yf that have lower ozone-depletion potential and are direct “drop-in” substitutes for HFC-134a in current air conditioning systems. Consequently, AC suppliers must develop systems for different global regions based on refrigerant specifications that may or may not change at any time.

Right now, AC suppliers are challenged to meet these varying requirements with systems that integrate smoothly into the total vehicle to provide optimal cool-down performance and passenger comfort with minimal engine drag and pollutant emissions. With faster and faster development cycles in the automotive sector, AC suppliers are striving to develop these complex designs better, faster and less expensively than competitors, and to be the first to demonstrate optimal system performance to automakers. Design speed is critical, as is the ability to account for all the complex vehicle thermal, mechanical and electronic control issues relating to an AC system.

The race for new contracts

Many AC suppliers and carmakers use LMS Imagine.Lab Vehicle Thermal Management to handle the AC system design and predict performance. A popular choice, the software easily lets engineers analyze component behavior in relation to engine temperature, exhaust levels, auxiliary equipment, cabin environment and other factors to find the best combination. The solution runs on the LMS Imagine.Lab AMESim platform, so engineers can easily access the required tools and libraries to build simulation models, run simulations and display results graphically.