Title page for ETD etd-10252002-151258

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Sewall, Evan Andrew
Author's Email Address esewall@vt.edu
URN etd-10252002-151258
Title Development of a Thermal Management Methodology for a Front-End DPS Power Supply
Degree Master of Science
Department Mechanical Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Thole, Karen A. Committee Chair
Scott, Elaine P. Committee Co-Chair
Mahan, James Robert Committee Member
  • Radiation
  • Power Electronics
  • Experimental Verification
  • Component Rearrangement
  • Thermal Management
  • Cooling
Date of Defense 2002-10-11
Availability unrestricted
Thermal management is a rapidly growing field in power electronics today. As power supply systems are designed with higher power density levels, keeping component temperatures within suitable ranges of their maximum operating limits becomes an increasingly challenging task. This project focuses on thermal management at the system level, using a 1.2 kW front-end power converter as a subject for case study. The establishment of a methodology for using the computer code I-deas to computationally simulate the thermal performance of component temperatures within the system was the primary goal.

A series of four benchmarking studies was used to verify the computational predictions. The first test compares predictions of a real system with thermocouple measurements, and the second compares computational predictions with infrared camera and thermocouple measurements on a component mounted to a heat sink. The third experiment involves using flow visualization to verify the presence of vortices in the flow field, and the fourth is a comparison of computational temperature predictions of a DC heater in a controlled flow environment.

A radiation study using the Monte Carlo ray-trace method for radiation heat transfer resulted in the reduction of some component temperature predictions of significant components. This radiation study focused on an aspect of heat transfer that is often ignored in power electronics.

A component rearrangement study was performed to establish a set of guidelines for component placement in future electronic systems. This was done through the use of a test matrix in which the converter layout was varied a number of different ways in order to help determine thermal effects. Based on the options explored and the electrical constraints on the circuit, an optimum circuit layout was suggested for maximum thermal performance.

This project provides a foundation for the thermal management of power electronics at the system level. The use of I-deas as a computational modeling tool was explored, and comparison of the code with experimental measurements helped to explore the accuracy of I-deas as a system level thermal modeling tool.

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