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Design and Experimental Characterisation of an Additively Manufactured Heat Exchanger for the Electric Propulsion Unit of a High-Altitude Solar Aircraft

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Rafal Wrobel, Emeritus Dr David Reay, Professor Barrie Mecrow



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of a conference proceedings (inc. abstract) that has been published in its final definitive form by IEEE, 2019.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


This paper presents design considerations of an air-cooled heat exchanger (HE) for a propulsion motor. The motor has been designed as a part of electric drive system for a high-altitude solar aircraft. The existing heat evacuation methods for such applications include predominantly forced air ventilation of the machine active parts through an open frame/motor housing. When considering numerous constraints associated with the airframe design, the effectiveness of such a cooling approach might be insufficient or have a detrimental impact on the system endurance. This is due to the resultant air flow via the motor body, which is rather difficult to reliably model or design for. In this work, the authors investigate a dedicated heat exchanger to assure a more measured design with superior cooling capability. To enable sufficient heat removal from the motor body, a metal additive manufacture (AM) was used in fabrication of the HE prototypes. Both design methodology and experimental results from tests on the HE/motor hardware demonstrators are discussed in detail. The research outcomes have shown that the use of the developed thermal management system offers a high level of motor/HE integration, lightweight design and a high removal rate of the generated heat.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Wrobel R, Scholes B, Mustaffer A, Ullah S, Reay D, Mecrow B, Hussein A

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: 2019 IEEE Energy Conversion Congress and Exposition (ECCE)

Year of Conference: 2019

Pages: 753-760

Print publication date: 01/03/2020

Acceptance date: 04/09/2019

Date deposited: 10/10/2019

Publisher: IEEE


DOI: 10.1109/ECCE.2019.8912308

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9781728103969