Building Simulation: An International Journal

Article Title

Modeling dynamic responses of aircraft environmental control systems by coupling with cabin thermal environment simulations


thermal control, temperature field, aircraft ECS, coupled simulation


Commercial aircraft use environmental control systems (ECSs) to control the thermal environment in cabins and thus ensure passengers’ safety, health, and comfort. This study investigated the interaction between ECS operation and cabin thermal environment. Simplified models were developed for the thermodynamic processes of the key ECS components in a commercial software program, ANSYS Simplorer. A computational fluid dynamics (CFD) program, ANSYS Fluent, was employed to simulate the thermal environment in a cabin. Through the coupling of Simplorer and Fluent, a PID control method was applied to the aircraft ECS in Simplorer to achieve dynamic control of the temperature of the supply air to the cabin, which was used as a Fluent input. The calculated supply air temperature agreed with the corresponding experimental data obtained from an MD-82 aircraft on the ground. The coupled model was then used to simulate a complete flight for the purpose of studying the interaction between ECS operation and the cabin thermal environment. The results show that the PID controller in the ECS can maintain the cabin air temperature within ±0.6 K of the set point, with an acceptable air temperature distribution. The coupled models can be used for the design and analysis of the ECS and cabin thermal environment for commercial airplanes.


Tsinghua University Press