You are on page 1of 3

Air cycle machine is the primary component in an air cycle cooling system.

Air cycle cooling has 3 basic principles, heat exchanger, expansion and energy conversion. Air from engine compressor is passed though the heat exchanger to provide cooling. Expansion reduce the pressure and increase the velocity of the charge air to provide cooling. The temperature of the charge air can drop until zero degree Celsius after expansion. Energy conversion convert heat energy into kinetic energy to drive the turbine. This method also helps to reduce the air to zero degree Celsius. Air cycle machine is a machine which is used for air conditioning in pressurized aircraft. Engine bleed air which is high in temperature is passed through the primary heat exchanger and ram air is used to cool the engine bleed air. The air is then passed through centrifugal compressor. Air is compressed to increase its temperature and pressure then passed to secondary heat exchanger. Secondary heat exchanger is cooled by the ram air. The temperature of the air is then expanded to cool the temperature down again. The air flow through the water separator for the removal of excessive moisture by water extractor or separator. Removal of moisture helps to control the humidity of air entering cabin and prevent icing downstream in the system. There is a unit known as mixer unit which is to mix cool air and the hot air to adjust the temperature of the air and warm the air to desired temperature. The cooled air is then draws to the general vent to be distribute into cabin. However the temperature of the air can be controlled by the control panel in the flight deck. There are number of different types of Air Cycle Machine which is the turbo-compressor, brake turbine and turbo fan. All the above types use charge air to drive turbine. The only differences between those 3 types is the overall weight and the method of dissipating heat.

Turbo compressor consists of centrifugal compressor and is driven by high speed turbine. The hot charge air enter the eye of Air Cycle Machine. It is compressed to increase temperature and pressure. Hot air is directed to secondary heat exchanger and cooled by the ram air. The expansion and energy conversion lower the pressure and temperature. The turbine wheel rotate at extremely high speed so, lubrication is essential. Brake turbine has only one heat exchanger which results in greater efficiency due to weight saving. Air is directed to heat exchanger and cooled by the ram air. Air expands across turbine and results in low temperature and low pressure. Compressor in this brake turbine type act as a brake to prevent the turbine from rotating too fast. Slower rotation of the shaft improves turbine output efficiency. Turbo fan type is similar to brake turbine. Turbo fan has one heat exchanger. The turbine drives a large centrifugal fan instead of the compressor in brake turbine type. The function of the fan is to draw more air in to cool down the charge air. The advantage of this turbo fan is, the large centrifugal fan will induce airflow over the primary heat exchanger when the aircraft is in stationary. It does not solely rely on ram air as cooling medium for the primary heat exchanger.

Reference: Brady, C. (2012) Air Conditioning [Online], Available: [25 FEB 2012]

Roland, P. (2012) What is an Air Cycle Machine? [Online], Available: [25 FEB 2012]

Global Energy. (2006) Air Cycle Machine ACM [Online], Available: cle_Machine.html [25 FEB 2012]

Liebherr Aerospace. (2012) Air Cycle [Online], Available: [25 FEB 2012]

Faculty of engineering (2010) Module 11A Turbine Aeroplane Aerodynamics, Structures and System, Kingston University London