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What is an air cooling system?

Air cooling system belongs to the class of gas

cycle refrigeration system in which air is used as
the working fluid instead of the phase changing
materials like freons.
Air cooling finds its application in aircraft cabin
cooling and also in the liquification of various

Why should cooling be
To keep the cabin temperature at a comfortable level. The
temperature outside is very low at high altitudes still cooling
of the cabin is required because of the following reasons:
1) Large internal heat due to occupants, equipment,etc.
2) Heat generation due to skin friction as the aircraft moves
3) The outside temperature will be sub-atmospheric, when
the air at this low pressure is compressed, the
temperature increases significantly. Eg: When the outside
air has the pressure of 0.2 bar and the temperature 223K
at 10000m is compressed to 1 bar the temperature
increases to about 353K. If the cabin is maintained at 0.8
bar, the temperature will be about 332K
4) heat generated from the solar radiation of the sun

This process is also called the ramming effect due to which the
heat gets added to the cabin so, air cooling system comes into
Air refrigeration is a complex process!

Some assumptions can help to simplify it.

1) The working fluid is a fixed mass of air that behaves as an ideal
2) The cycle is assumed as a closed cycle with all inlet and outlet
process as open cycles being replaced by heat transfer processes
to or from the environment.
3) All the processes within the cycle are reversible.
4) The specific heat of air remains constant throughout the cycle.
Why is air used?




* Types of air cooling system
1) Simple aircraft refrigeration system
2) Simple air evaporative cooling system
3) Bootstrap air cooling system
4) Bootstrap air evaporative cooling system
5) Reduced ambient air cooling system
6) Regenerative air cooling system
Simple air refrigeration system
• It is an open system.
• It is used to cool the aircrafts when it is not
• It works on the reversed Brayton cycle.
• Steady flow equation is applied to the ramming
• Here the ambient air gets rammed before the
main compressor compresses it.
Fig: simple air refrigeration system
Simple air evaporative cooling system
• It is similar to the simple air cooling system
• The only difference is the addition of an evaporator
between heat exchanger and cooling turbine.
• The evaporator provides an additional cooling
effect through evaporation of the refrigerant like
water, ammonia, etc.
• At high altitude the evaporative effect is obtained
by using ammonia or alcohol.
Fig: simple air evaporative
cooling system
Bootstrap air cooling system
• This cooling system has two heat exchangers instead of one
and a cooling turbine drives a secondary compressor.
• There is a main and secondary compressor.
• When the ambient air passes into the aircraft, the air flows
through the main compressor and then passes to the
combustion chamber from where it pass to the gas turbine.
• The two heat exchangers are placed near the entrance.
• The ramming air with less temperature than the air coming out
from the main compressor passes to the first heat exchanger to
cool the air entering. Again this air pass through another heat
exchanger and is cooled by the ramming air after being
compressed by the secondary compressor.
• This air then pass through the cooling turbine and is finally
passed to the cabin. This cools the temperature of the cabin.
Bootstrap air cooling system
T-S diagram
• 1-2’: isentropic ramming of the ambient air. It represents
the actual ramming of the air because of the internal
• 2’-3: isentropic compression of air.
• 2’-3’: actual compression of air due to irreversibilities.
• 3’-4’: cooling by ram air in the first heat exchanger
• 4-5: compression of cool air in the first heat exchanger.
• 4-5’: actual compression process.
• 5’-6: cooling by ram air in the second heat exchanger.
• 6-7: isentropic expansion of the cooled air in the cooling
turbine up to the cabin temperature.
• 6-7’: actual expansion of the cooled air in the cooling
• 7’-8: heating of air up to the cabin temperature.
Bootstrap air evaporative cooling system
• It is similar to the bootstrap cooling system.
• The only difference is the addition of the evaporator
between second heat exchanger and the cooling
• There is the cooling of the turbine using a suitable
• The air leaving the cooling turbine in bootstrap
evaporative system is lower than that of the simple
• So the mass of air per tonne of refrigeration will be
less in bootstrap evaporative system.
Fig: bootstrap evaporative cooling
Reduced ambient air cooling system
• It includes two cooling turbines and one heat
• The air reduced for refrigeration initially in
system is bled off from the main compressor.
• The heat exchanger reduces this high
temperature and pressure. The air for cooling
is taken from the cooling turbine.
• It is used for very high speed aircrafts
Fig: reduced ambient air cooling system
Regenerative cooling system
• It is the modification of a simple air cooling system
with the addition of the regenerative heat
• The ramming air cools the air from the main
compressor in the heat exchanger.
• This air is further cooled in the regenerative heat
exchanger with a portion of the air bled after the
expansion in the cooling turbine.
• It is mainly used in supersonic flights and aircrafts.
Fig: regenerative air cooling system.