Principal investigator: Issam Abu-Mahfouz

University: Penn State Harrisburg

Industry partner: Trans-Air Manufacturing

The cabin noise of modern ground vehicles is highly affected by Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems. The in-cabin air blower unit produces a highly turbulent flow that generates noise. HVAC compressor vibration and noise transmit inside the cabin and contribute to the overall noise outside the cabin. High noise levels can induce significant discomfort to the driver and passengers. With demand for hybrid and electric vehicles on the rise, motorists increasingly experience significantly reduced noise levels associated with such power trains. Consequently, noise generated by the HVAC system is becoming more perceptible to passengers and can negatively impact vehicle marketing.

A comprehensive experimental and computer simulation study is proposed to characterize the acoustic noise resulting from the HVAC system of ground vehicles. Using sensor fusion, the experimental phase will investigate the root cause of HVAC noise. Concurrently, a computer simulation phase will contribute to a better understanding of the generation and propagation mechanisms of sound waves and help to predict and minimize unwanted noise from HVAC by design modifications, new material selection, and optimizing vibration dampers. This work will assist Trans-Air Manufacturing, a Pennsylvania-based manufacturer, in achieving a distinct technology edge for marketing their cabin climate control systems.