Browse Publications Technical Papers 2019-01-1076
2019-04-02

An Innovative Electric Motor Cooling System for Hybrid Vehicles - Model and Test 2019-01-1076

Enhanced electric motor performance in transportation vehicles can improve system reliability and durability over rigorous operating cycles. The design of innovative heat rejection strategies in electric motors can minimize cooling power consumption and associated noise generation while offering configuration flexibility. This study investigates an innovative electric motor cooling strategy through bench top thermal testing on an emulated electric motor. The system design includes passive (e.g., heat pipes) cooling as the primary heat rejection pathway with supplemental conventional cooling using a variable speed coolant pump and radiator fan(s). The integrated thermal structure, “cradle”, transfers heat from the motor shell towards an end plate for heat dissipation to the ambient surroundings or transmission to an external thermal bus to remote heat exchanger. A complete lumped parameter numerical modelling was implemented to estimate the thermal behavior of the corresponding electric motor cooling system. Experimental and numerical results compare the temperature, heat flux, and cooling power measurements. For a 250VA thermal load applied, the hybrid heat rejection strategy could save up to 33% of the power consumption while the operating condition is secured. Higher thermal loads can be handled through the combined passive and active pathways with minimum power consumption. Based on these findings, integrated electric motor cooling merits attention for further investigation through field testing, scaling, and utilization in other applications.

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