Equipment design requires the use of mechanistic models that relate performance to physical design parameters. System design involves sizing of equipment and is typically accomplished using simpler models that correlate equipment performance data. Optimal equipment or system design is a process that integrates modeling with optimization and economic analysis. Research related to the design of thermal systems and equipment includes the development of appropriate design models, system simulation techniques, and the optimization methods and cost functions necessary to achieve optimal design.
Control of thermal systems may be thought of as having a two-level hierarchical structure. The first level involves local loop control in response to prescribed setpoints (e.g., room temperature for an HVAC system). The second level, or supervisory controls, are independent variables that may be adjusted within limits to minimize operating costs (e.g., supply air temperature to a room), while not affecting the ability of the local loop controllers to maintain setpoints. Research interests in this area include optimal supervisory control methods for thermal systems both with and without significant dynamic effects (static vs. dynamic optimization).
Condition monitoring involves measurement of one or more indices of performance over time for the purpose of providing information concerning the "health" of a piece of equipment or system. Research areas include development of appropriate measurement indices, models for characterizing "expected" performance, and statistical methods for identifying the significance of differences between measured and expected performance.
Carrier Air Conditioning
Johnson Control, Inc.