Sah, M., Srinivasan, K., Mendonca, F., and Pai, N., "Prediction of HVAC System Aero/Acoustic Noise Generation and Propagation using CFD," SAE Technical Paper 2013-01-0856, 2013, doi:10.4271/2013-01-0856.
With the advent of quieter powertrain and improved cabin acoustic sealing, there is an increased focus on noise generated in the HVAC unit and climate control ducting system. With improved insulation from exterior noise sources such as wind & road noise, HVAC noise is more perceptible by the occupants and is a key quality indicator for new generation vehicles. This has increased the use of simulations tools to predict HVAC noise during the virtual development phase of new vehicle programs. With packaging space being premium under the instrument panel, changes to address noise issues are expensive and often impractical. The current methodology includes the best practices in simulation accumulated from prior aero acoustics validation studies on fans, ducts, flaps and plenum volume discharge. The paper details the acoustic noise generation and propagation in the near field downstream of an automotive HVAC unit in conjunction with ducting system. The simulation process is based on Detached Eddy Simulation (DES) with compressibility. The overall sound pressure level at a nearfield cabin location is compared with test data. Good agreement was achieved between simulation and test results.