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John O | December 2016

Purdue and Toyota work together for EV cooling technology


researchers from the university of purdue and the toyota research institute of north america were recently named finalists for the 2016 r&d 100 award for developing a new, two-phase cold plate design for cooling automotive power electronics.

 

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purdue researchers have created a two-phase cold plate cooling system. (youtube)

 

the project began five years ago when toyota reached out to the national science foundation cooling technologies research center on the purdue campus, according to a notice on the school’s website. toyota was looking for ways to improve the efficiency and performance of the cooling systems in its hybrid and electric vehicles.

 

cold plates work by washing coolant through a metal plate onto the surface of the device that needs to be cooled. if the coolant liquid is brought to boiling on the surface of the device, then the rate of heat transfer is even higher.

 

the technology that was created by the collaboration features jet impingement, which flows coolant in a perpendicular direction across the cold plate, producing jets that shoot across the hot surface to increase heat dissipation. the new cooling system is only two inches by two inches but has shown the ability to cool components at a rate of 1,000 watts per centimeter squared.

 

researchers enhanced the cold plate by adding porous copper coatings and pin-like fins to its surface. they also optimized the manifold to evenly distribute the coolant through tiny nozzles. the project has already achieved two patents with a third application filed.

 

in the article, cooling technologies research center founder suresh garimella said, "it was a very close collaboration, and the reason it was successful was that toyota put a lot of effort into this research themselves, performing computer modeling and setting up experiments in a more realistic setting at toyota than a university alone is able to do.

 

“overall, our main contribution here was bringing our 25 years of knowledge in impinging jets and boiling on surfaces to design something very special."

 

the r&d 100 awards are called the “oscars of invention” and were handed out at a ceremony in early november.  see the list of winners at http://www.rd100conference.com/awards/winners-finalists/year/2016/.

 

learn more about the two-phase cold plate system in the video below:

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