PROJECT: Numerical model development for convective cooling of electrical devices

Accurate simulation models for convective cooling of electrical devices are important for making them efficient and reliable.

Efficiency of electrical motors used in car industry nowadays is above 90% and can reach astonishing 97% (e.g Tesla Model 3). All energy that is not turned into useful work, like turning the rotor, is wasted as heat that needs to be removed. Accumulation of heat leads to high temperatures that, consequently, can decrease motor efficiency due to increased electrical resistance of copper windings. In more serious cases overheating will cause demagnetization of permanent magnets and breakup of dielectric materials (epoxy, plastics etc.). Electrical motors in cars are located close to the ground and need to be protected from debris, dust and water therefore closed circuit cooling system (pump, radiators and heat carrying antifreeze liquid) is often used.

We intend to develop a software for modelling cooling of electrical motors. In the context of EOF-Library, the electromagnetic analysis is be done using Elmer FEM software, while turbulent flows and heat dissipation are solved using OpenFOAM. Nowadays it is common to study electromagnetics independently from fluid dynamics, which reduces problem complexity, but is less accurate comparing to fully coupled multiphysics problem. There is demand for more accurate models which follows from the need for smaller, lighter, energy-efficient and more reliable electrical devices.

There is novelty and many different industrial applications for this work. Practical applications of such simulation models for convective cooling of electrical devices are far beyond design of electrical motors, we see other use cases such as transformers, electric heaters, flow sensors and induction hardening.

Location: VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland (Tampere, Finland)
Duration: 1 month
Funding: H2020 project “HPC-Europa3” (Transnational Access Programme for a Pan-European Network of HPC Research Infrastructures and Laboratories for scientific computing), www.hpc-europa.eu

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