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Journal Article

A Thermal Bus for Vehicle Cooling Applications - Design and Analysis

Designing an efficient cooling system with low power consumption is of high interest in the automotive engineering community. Heat generated due to the propulsion system and the on-board electronics in ground vehicles must be dissipated to avoid exceeding component temperature limits. In addition, proper thermal management will offer improved system durability and efficiency while providing a flexible, modular, and reduced weight structure. Traditional cooling systems are effective but they typically require high energy consumption which provides motivation for a paradigm shift. This study will examine the integration of passive heat rejection pathways in ground vehicle cooling systems using a “thermal bus”. Potential solutions include heat pipes and composite fibers with high thermal properties and light weight properties to move heat from the source to ambient surroundings.
Journal Article

An Integrated Cooling System for Hybrid Electric Vehicle Motors: Design and Simulation

Hybrid electric vehicles offer the advantages of reduced emissions and greater travel range in comparison to conventional and electric ground vehicles. Regardless of propulsion strategy, efficient cooling of electric motors remains an open challenge due to the operating cycles and ambient conditions. The onboard thermal management system must remove the generated heat so that the motors and other vehicle components operate within their designed temperature ranges. In this article, an integrated thermal structure, or cradle, is designed to efficiently transfer heat within the motor housing to the end plates for transmission to an external heat exchanger. A radial array of heat pipes function as an efficient thermal connector between the motor and heat connector, or thermal bus, depending on the configuration. Cooling performance has been evaluated for various driving cycles.
Journal Article

A Hybrid Thermal Bus for Ground Vehicles Featuring Parallel Heat Transfer Pathways

Improved propulsion system cooling remains an important challenge in the transportation industry as heat generating components, embedded in ground vehicles, trend toward higher heat fluxes and power requirements. The further minimization of the thermal management system power consumption necessitates the integration of parallel heat rejection strategies to maintain prescribed temperature limits. When properly designed, the cooling solution will offer lower noise, weight, and total volume while improving system durability, reliability, and power efficiency. This study investigates the integration of high thermal conductivity (HTC) materials, carbon fibers, and heat pipes with conventional liquid cooling to create a hybrid “thermal bus” to move the thermal energy from the heat source(s) to the ambient surroundings. The innovative design can transfer heat between the separated heat source(s) and heat sink(s) without sensitivity to gravity.
Technical Paper

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

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.
Journal Article

An Electric Motor Thermal Bus Cooling System for Vehicle Propulsion - Design and Test

Automotive and truck manufacturers are introducing electric propulsion systems into their ground vehicles to reduce fossil fuel consumption and harmful tailpipe emissions. The mobility shift to electric motors requires a compact thermal management system that can accommodate heat dissipation demands with minimum energy consumption in a confined space. An innovative cooling system design, emphasizing passive cooling methods coupled with a small liquid system, using a thermal bus architecture has been explored. The laboratory experiment features an emulated electric motor interfaced to a thermal cradle and multiple heat rejection pathways to evaluate the transfer of generated heat to the ambient surroundings. The thermal response of passive (e.g., carbon fiber, high thermal conductivity material, thermosyphon) and active cooling systems are investigated for two operating scenarios.