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Effective Vehicle Thermal Management

posted Aug 30, 2017, 5:16 PM by Songyi Han
When looking at system simulation in the automotive industry there are many areas where computer aided engineering (CAE) can be deployed effectively. One of the most valuable systems on the vehicle to analyze is the thermal management system. Traditionally this importance has been derived from the requirement to keep the internal combustion engine at a reasonable operating temperature. By doing so it would ensure not only that the vehicle was operating as efficiently as possible with minimal pollution, but critically that it would not overheat and experience significant thermal damage.

Today, as automotive manufacturers continue to shift towards additional electrification of the vehicle, both in the powertrain with hybrid and plug-in electric vehicles and in the controls and displays, the need for thermal management increases. FloMASTER™ is often used for this type of analysis because at a system level, it is able to account for all of the different components in the various systems such as the engine, thermostat, pumps, heat exchangers, fans, batteries, and power electronics. With all of these systems interacting through the flow of under-hood air, FloMASTER is able to simulate how the different systems will potentially affect another’s thermal performance. One of the newer components of these EVs and HEVs, that now need to be included in the overall thermal management of the system, are the electric motors. As with other components in a system level model, it is the thermal performance of these components that can sometimes be challenging to find.

One of the most popular ways of obtaining this type of information, especially early on in the design process, is to characterize performance virtually. In this case a finite element tool called MotorSolve produced by Infolytica Corporation. MotorSolve simulates machine performance using equivalent circuit calculations and a unique finite element analysis engine, allowing designers to quickly prototype motors and generators virtually. The purpose of this study was to incorporate the motor and the thermal load that it generates into a full system level hybrid-electric vehicle thermal management model.



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