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Heat pipe based thermal management of electrical machines – A feasibility study

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



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


In this paper the use of off-the-shelf heat pipes (HPs) are assessed for the thermal management of electricalmachines. The stator-winding assembly has been selected to assess the suitability and effectiveness of coolingsystems based upon HPs. The proposed approach targets the main heat source in electrical machines, which isgenerally associated with the winding subassembly. Two thermal management systems are investigated from aconceptual point of view. The first one uses HPs to improve heat removal for a machine with conventionalcooling, e.g. a liquid or air-cooled housing. The second variant uses HPs as the main heat transfer route, e.g. afully enclosed machine with no integrated, actively cooled housing. Both active- and end-winding regions areconsidered for direct heat removal from the winding body using HPs. The analysis of the electromagnetic andthermal compatibility of the proposed HP-based thermal management systems is via three-dimensional (3D)finite element analyses (FEAs). It is theoretically shown that the winding active region is better suited foreffective HP-based thermal management, compared with the end-winding alternative. Also, the results suggestthat proposed thermal management systems allow for a considerable improvement in heat removal from themachine body, up to 43% and 25% for the concepts one and two respectively (applied to the winding activeregion) respectively, as compared with a more conventional heat removal system. The overall performance gainsof course depend upon the specific manufacture and assembly processes used in construction of the statorwinding.The initial results from tests on the hardware subassemblies confirm validity of the theoreticalmethods employed in this feasibility study.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Wrobel R, Reay D

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Thermal Science and Engineering Progress

Year: 2022

Volume: 33

Issue: 101366

Pages: 1-13

Print publication date: 01/08/2022

Online publication date: 06/06/2022

Acceptance date: 31/05/2022

Date deposited: 12/07/2022

ISSN (print): 2451-9049

Publisher: Elsevier BV


DOI: 10.1016/j.tsep.2022.101366


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Funder referenceFunder name
EPSRC UK – Future Electrical Machines Manufacturing Hub, EP/S018034/1