Design, optimization and installation of energy-efficient, low-noise ventilation systems for resi...

KU Leuven
August 22 2017
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

For Mechanical Engineering Technology TC, Campus Group T Leuven we are looking for an engineer/physicist with background and interest in fluid mechanics and/or aeroacoustics. Flow duct systems or piping networks are commonly used for a large number of engineering applications, both as corebusiness like in the chemical industry, in exhaust systems and HVAC installations or as an energy carrier such as in compressed air networks. The aerodynamic and acoustic design of piping networks is not evident, partly because of the often conflicting demands:

·       On the one hand, the total pressuredrop of the system should be minimized to reach an optimal energy efficiency of the flow generating device (e.g. pump, fan, compressor, engine,…) If the pressure drop of the flow duct system is not calculated accurately, the latter components are not dimensioned optimally, making them work in suboptimal regimes. In practice, this yields losses up to 10% or more. Knowing that 60% of the electricity usage for electric motors goes to the powering of pumps/compressors/fans (for Belgium this amounts up to 14.4 TWh), this suboptimal regime means a serious cost in electricity consumption.

·       On the other hand, due to the ever increasing noise regulations and customer's demands with respect to acoustic comfort, the noise attenuation of flow duct systems should be maximized. Noise is identified as one of the fastest growing pollutants in Europe. In buildings, for instance, HVAC-systems have a significant impact on workplace as well as domestic comfort. The most frequently mentioned problem is linked to excessive noise and vibration. This unwanted noise makes the workplace uncomfortable and less productive. In schools, this noise has a negative effect on the learning capabilities of children: problems with the speech intelligibility and loss of concentration. At worst, when a loud low-frequency noise is present, it can even affect health (insomnia, high blood pressure, ischemic heart disease).

An increased and efficient noise attenuation can e.g. be achieved by introducing passive (i.e. reflective) components like expansion chambers or active elements which include sound-absorbing materials inside the duct system to mitigate the noise generated by the flow generating device while limiting the additional flow-noise generation inside these components. However, the presence of these noise mitigation elements inevitably leads to an increase in pressure drop, thus reducing the energy-efficiency.

As a consequence, this project envisages the following research objective:

The development of a multi-disciplinary design tool which enables to characterize a flow duct system (as well on (sub-) component as on system level) both aerodynamically and aero-acoustically. Due to the interaction and conflicting nature of both characteristics, both properties will be determined simultaneously, thus yielding the potentia... For more information see

This job comes from a partnership with Science Magazine and Euraxess