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Design of Turbo-Compression System for HALE UAV Propulsion System

[+] Author Affiliations
Young Seok Kang, Dong Ho Rhee, Byeung Jun Lim, Sangook Jun, Tae Choon Park, Yang Ji Lee, Yong Min Jun

Korea Aerospace Research Institute, Daejeon, South Korea

Paper No. FEDSM2018-83354, pp. V002T11A013; 10 pages
  • ASME 2018 5th Joint US-European Fluids Engineering Division Summer Meeting
  • Volume 2: Development and Applications in Computational Fluid Dynamics; Industrial and Environmental Applications of Fluid Mechanics; Fluid Measurement and Instrumentation; Cavitation and Phase Change
  • Montreal, Quebec, Canada, July 15–20, 2018
  • Conference Sponsors: Fluids Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5156-2
  • Copyright © 2018 by ASME


A turbo-compression system design and its performance analysis procedure for a high altitude long endurance UAV (HALE UAV), of which cruising altitude is within the stratosphere, is presented. To fly at a relatively low speed for a long time and to make engine performance less sensitive to flight altitude, a hydrogen fueled internal combustion engine was chosen for a propulsion system. To utilize an internal combustion engine as a propulsion system at a high altitude, a proper inlet pressure boost system such as a series of turbochargers is required. Hydrogen is highly reactive gas and sometimes backfiring or preignition may occur due to its low ignition energy at stoichiometric ratio. Therefore, fuel to air ratio should be reduced as low as 0.6 to avoid such phenomena. Then rarefied ambient intake air pressure should be boosted up to 1.7 bar to produce required power from the lean burn engine. To gain high pressure ratio from the turbo compression system, at least three stage serial turbocharger with proper intercooler system at each compressor exhaust is required. To analyze multi-stage turbocharger performance at the cruising altitude, an explicit one-dimensional analysis method has been established mainly by matching required power between compressors and turbines. Each compressor performances were corrected according to Reynolds number at a given flight altitude. Compressor efficiency and surge margin deteriorate as the operating altitude increases. Then compressor efficiencies were reflected as functions of flight altitude and corresponding Reynolds number. Once operating points of each turbocharger was determined, then adequate turbochargers were searched for from commercially available models based on performance analysis results. Also, adequate water to air intercoolers were chosen for the turbo-compression system to secure flexibility of placing main components inside the engine bay as well as to obtain high heat exchange efficiency of the heat exchangers. Based on the designed turbo-compression system, technical demonstration test of the turbo-compression system inside altitude environment test chamber in Korea Aerospace Research Institute is planned. Altitude condition in stratosphere is simulated mainly with two stage centrifugal compressor and additional fan will be used to fine control the flight altitude. The turbo compression system will be controlled with a single waste gate located just downstream of the engine to secure simple controllability of the turbo compression system. The test results will validate main components as well as system layout design methods and give more reliable control schedule of the turbo compressions system according to the flight altitude.

Copyright © 2018 by ASME



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