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e-Thermal is a vehicle level thermal analysis tool developed by General Motors to simulate the transient performance of the entire vehicle HVAC and Powertrain cooling system. It is currently in widespread (global) use across GM. This paper discusses the details of the airconditioning module of e-Thermal. Most of the literature available on transient modeling of the air conditioning systems is based on finite difference approach that require large simulation times. This has been overcome by appropriately modeling the components using Sinda/Fluint. The basic components of automotive air conditioning system, evaporator, condenser, compressor and expansion valve, are parametrically modeled in Sinda/Fluint. For each component, physical characteristics and performance data is collected in form of component data standards. This performance data is used to curve fit parameters that then reproduce the component performance. These components are then integrated together to form various A/C system configurations including orifice tube systems, txv systems and dual evaporator systems. The A/C subsystem uses airflow rates, temperatures, humidity’s and compressor speed as inputs. The outputs include overall system energy balance, system COP, refrigerant flow rates and system pressures. The A/C simulation runs about three times faster to three times slower than real time. The modeling technique used is also capable of tracking the effect of system charge on the overall system performance. A database of automotive air conditioning components accompanies the simulation tool. This database is then integrated in e-Thermal to provide the component data for modeling. Validation results for component level models are demonstrated. They form the basis of system level models. System level validation is also demonstrated. The simulation times vary from 3 times faster than real time to 5 times slower than real time depending on the nature of the simulation.

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SAE Technical Paper Series
Gaurav Anand, Milind Mahajan, Nagendra Jain, Balaji Maniam, Todd M. Tumas