A Passive Solution to Differential Transient Cooling Issues Using Phase Change Materials 2016-01-0008
Thermal management systems (TMS) of armored ground vehicle designs are often incapable of sustained heat rejection during high tractive effort conditions and ambient conditions. During these conditions, which mainly consist of high torque low speed operations, gear oil temperatures can rise over the allowable 275°F limit in less than twenty minutes.
This work outlines an approach to temporarily store excess heat generated by the differential during high tractive effort situations through the use of a passive Phase Change Material (PCM) retrofit thereby extending the operating time, reducing temperature transients, and limiting overheating.
A numerical heat transfer model has been developed based on a conceptual vehicle differential TMS. The model predicts the differential fluid temperature response with and without a PCM retrofit. The developed model captures the physics of the phase change processes to predict the transient heat absorption and rejection processes. It will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of proposed candidate implementations and provide input for TMS evaluations.
Parametric studies of the heat transfer model have been conducted to establish desirable structural morphologies and PCM thermophysical properties. Key parameters include surface structural characteristics, conduction enhancing material, surface area, and PCM properties such as melt temperature, heat of fusion, and thermal conductivity.
To demonstrate proof-of-concept, a passive PCM enclosure has been designed to be integrated onto the rear differential carrier cover. This PCM-augmented module will temporarily and strategically absorb and release heat from the system at a controlled rate. This allows surging fluid temperatures to be clamped below the maximum effective fluid temperature rating, thereby, increasing component life, reliability, and performance. This work outlines cooling system boundary conditions, mobility/thermal loads, model details, enclosure design characteristics, potential PCM candidates, design considerations, performance data, cooling system impacts, conclusions, and potential future work.