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Research Papers

Thermal Management of a 15kV/100kVA Intelligent Universal Transformer

[+] Author and Article Information
Ronald Warzoha

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Villanova University, 800 Lancaster Avenue, Villanova, PA 19085

Amy S. Fleischer

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Villanova University, 800 Lancaster Avenue, Villanova, PA 19085amy.fleischer@villanova.edu

J. Thermal Sci. Eng. Appl 3(1), 011002 (Mar 10, 2011) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4003608 History: Received April 08, 2010; Revised January 24, 2011; Published March 10, 2011; Online March 10, 2011

The thermal management of power electronics presents a significant challenge to thermal engineers due to high power loads coupled with small footprints. Inadequate thermal dissipation of these loads can lead to excessively high equipment temperatures and subsequent system failure. In this study, a unique power electronics-based transformer, called the intelligent universal transformer (IUT), is thermally analyzed using the computational fluid dynamics software ICEPAK . The objective of this work is to examine the use of a finned heat pipe array for the power electronics in the IUT. A design sensitivity study was performed to determine the effect of the number of fins attached to the heat pipe array, the number of heat pipes in the heat pipe array, and the fin material on the steady-state operating temperature of the power electronics. It was determined that a set of 33 copper fins attached to an array of 36 heat pipes on each side of the containment unit is sufficient for continuous operation of the power electronics. This analysis and thermal management solution will be applicable not only to this situation but also to other high density power electronics applications.

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Copyright © 2011 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Functionality of the IUT (9)

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Figure 2

15 kV/100 kVA intelligent universal transformer design

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Figure 3

Computational model of a 15 kV/100 kVA IUT with 1/4 symmetry

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Figure 4

Effect of the number of fins on power electronics operating temperatures (constant: copper fins, three heat pipes)

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Figure 5

Maximum temperature of each power electronic using aluminum or copper fins for 21 fins and three heat pipes

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Figure 6

Temperature difference between transformers and rectifiers using different fin materials

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Figure 7

Effect of the number of heat pipes (1, 2, or 3) on maximum steady-state operating temperature for each module using 5 or 29 fins

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Figure 8

Sensitivity analysis for the output module of the IUT: (a) shape imparted by the number of fins, N, (b) shape imparted by the number of heat pipes, n, and (c) shape imparted by the fin material

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Figure 9

Isotherm plots for the power electronic modules within the IUT: (a) temperature distribution in the input modules, (b) temperature distribution for the rectifier modules, (c) temperature distribution for the transformer, and (d) temperature distribution for the output modules

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Figure 10

Temperature distribution of fin system

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Figure 11

Velocity vectors between fins

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