Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

George P. Huang, Ph.D., P.E. (Advisor); Michael Oppenheimer, Ph.D. (Committee Member); Mitch Wolff, Ph.D. (Committee Member); Rory Roberts, Ph.D. (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME)


Modern aircraft experience increasing thermal loads from electronics, electromechanical actuators, and directed energy weapons. These aircraft also have a reduced ability to transfer thermal energy to the atmosphere due to the use of composite skins and a limited number of air intake ports. For aircraft that use fuel as a heatsink, these factors can cause the fuel at points of the system to exceed temperature limits, which can result in fuel coking, damage to subsystems, and even complete system failure. This thesis investigates the fuel thermal management shortcomings of contemporary aircraft systems and suggests a new methodology to extend performance. The proposed multi-mode dual tank topology demonstrates increased thermal endurance over the state-of-the-art thermal management strategies. This work consists of a 5 step process relating full scale simulation to a sub-scale experiment. First, a simulation model of the full-scale system enables rapid topology analysis and modification. Second, simulation results demonstrate the feasibility of the given topology. Next, dimensional analysis is used to transform the full-scale system parameters to a dynamically similar sub-scale configuration. Then, cyber-physical modeling aids in the experimental design process by characterizing experimental components. This data is then used to estimate the performance of several experimental configurations. Finally, a sub-scale experiment is performed to validate simulated results further demonstrating the ability of the topology to extend thermal endurance when compared to conventional fuel thermal management strategies.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering

Year Degree Awarded