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Unison Offers New Ways To Cool Engine Fuel and Oil

 - June 20, 2013, 10:35 AM

Cincinnati, Ohio-headquartered Unison Industries (Hall 3 B132), which provides electrical and mechanical components and systems for aircraft engines and airframes, announced several developments to provide better cooling for engines.

Among these is an air-cooled fuel cooler (ACFC). According to Unison, composite aircraft, more efficient engines and higher energy loads are making fuel less available for cooling purposes and in some cases return-to-tank is not possible.

“New composite wings can act as an insulator, not allowing fuel to cold soak, as it has in the past,” said Keith Campbell, general manager, Unison Mechanical Systems. “We also know that more efficient engines require less fuel and on-board electrical loads require more cooling than ever before.”

The Unison ACFC will use the company’s integrated fin technology to cool fuel.The technology builds upon Unison’s thermal-management experience in heat-exchanger technology. “The new air-cooled fuel cooler will offer an option to aircraft and engine manufacturers that does not exist today,” said Campbell, “and will facilitate continued use of fuel as a cooling medium for aircraft systems.”

Unison Industries’ new ACFC will be designed for both fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft and it is expected to have applications in civil and military markets.

Meanwhile, Unison is developing a new air-cooled oil cooler (ACOC) for helicopters that can eliminate fans and brick-style engine and gearbox oil coolers. The ACOC technology is already in use on the General Electric GEnx-1B turbofan and was selected for the new GE Passport and CFM International Leap-1B engines.

Unison will apply the ACOC to the aircraft fuselage and use main- or tailrotor airflow to cool the oil. ACOC also uses integrated fin technology to reduce weight and minimize airflow disruption and it can be formed to the shape of the contour on which it is applied. The ACOC has only two weld-joints, one at the valve and the other at the manifold.

“We believe this new method of cooling helicopter engine and gearbox oil is revolutionary,” said Campbell. “It has the potential for significant weight and cost savings and it will greatly reduce cost by eliminating fans and brick coolers.” ACOC will also simplify the gearbox-to-fan interface and reduce its associated cost, he said.

Separately, the company is making improvements to the conformal integrated fin technology surface coolers. These are expected to save customers thousands of dollars annually in specific fuel consumption, according to Unison, due to their lower weight and less drag. An additional benefit to the new design is flexibility in cooler shape, since the heat exchangers are no longer limited to box-shaped configurations. The Unison surface coolers lend themselves to whatever shape best suits the engine flow contours on which they will be installed.

“We have been developing this innovative technology for several years and we believe we have only scratched the surface of what is possible with our integrated fin technology,” said Mike Grunza, president of Unison Industries. He added, “Engines already in service are also excellent candidates for Unison’s surface-cooler technology, and retrofitting to the Unison heat exchanger is a great opportunity to reduce weight and drag, reducing operating costs.”