When designing components, systems and fluid characteristics, thermal loads gathered over the life cycle of an automobile are of great interest. Ageing and deterioration based on the temperature/time distribution that a component or fluid is exposed to, affects the functionality and/or durability of electronics, polymers and lubricants. Optimal design in terms of quality and cost are two of the most governing parameters at Volvo Cars at present. To meet this need, designing terms of life cycles from a thermal perspective has been developed during recent years.
This paper presents a methodology for designing components and choosing system solutions from life span thermal loads in Volvo Car's vehicles. The fundamental ideas behind the method, design criteria and examples of usage are discussed from a holistic point of view.
Based on experimental results in standard heat management/cooling performance tests and experience of thermal behavior, the thermal load distribution over the life span is extracted, using MS Excel. The thermal distribution is then compared to component characteristics in order to meet the requirement functionality and durability. For components of exceptional interest, the method can be used proactively to specify the thermal loads in order to find a material, fluid or component which meets the specifications. This avoids unpleasant discoveries in late phases of vehicle programs and makes decisions more easy to make.