Ph_D_dissertation_Austin_Nash.pdf (9.09 MB)

Hierarchical Combined Plant and Control Design for Thermal Management Systems

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posted on 03.12.2019 by Austin L Nash
Over the last few decades, many factors, including increased electrification, have led to a critical need for fast and efficient transient cooling. Thermal management systems (TMSs) are typically designed using steady-state assumptions and to accommodate the most extreme operating conditions that could be encountered, such as maximum expected heat loads. Unfortunately, by designing systems in this manner, closed-loop transient performance is neglected and often constrained. If not constrained, conventional design approaches result in oversized systems that are less efficient under nominal operation. Therefore, it is imperative that \emph{transient} component modeling and subsystem interactions be considered at the design stage to avoid costly future redesigns. Simply put, as technological advances create the need for rapid transient cooling, a new design paradigm is needed to realize next generation systems to meet these demands.

In this thesis, I develop a new design approach for TMSs called hierarchical control co-design (HCCD). More specifically, I develop a HCCD algorithm aimed at optimizing high-fidelity design and control for a TMS across a system hierarchy. This is accomplished in part by integrating system level (SL) CCD with detailed component level (CL) design optimization. The lower-fidelity SL CCD algorithm incorporates feedback control into the design of a TMS to ensure controllability and robust transient response to exogenous disturbances, and the higher-fidelity CL design optimization algorithms provide a way of designing detailed components to achieve the desired performance needed at the SL. Key specifications are passed back and forth between levels of the hierarchy at each iteration to converge on an optimal design that is responsive to desired objectives at each level. The resulting HCCD algorithm permits the design and control of a TMS that is not only optimized for steady-state efficiency, but that can be designed for robustness to transient disturbances while achieving said disturbance rejection with minimal compromise to system efficiency. Several case studies are used to demonstrate the utility of the algorithm in designing systems with different objectives. Additionally, high-fidelity thermal modeling software is used to validate a solution to the proposed model-based design process.


Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy


Mechanical Engineering

Campus location

West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Neera Jain

Additional Committee Member 2

James Braun

Additional Committee Member 3

Bin Yao

Additional Committee Member 4

Peter Meckl

Additional Committee Member 5

Stanislaw Zak