Thermal management systems (TMS) of armored ground vehicle designs are often incapable of sustained heat rejection during high tractive effort conditions and ambient conditions. Latent heat energy storage systems that utilize Phase Change Materials (PCMs) present an effective way of storing thermal energy and offer key advantages such as high-energy storage density, high heat of fusion values, and greater stability in temperature control. Military vehicles frequently undergo high-transient thermal loads and often do not provide adequate cooling for powertrain subsystems.
This work outlines an approach to temporarily store excess heat generated by the transmission during high tractive effort situations through the use of a passive PCM retrofit thereby extending the operating time, reducing temperature transients, and limiting overheating.
A numerical heat transfer model has been developed based on a conceptual vehicle transmission TMS. The model predicts the transmission fluid temperature response with and without a PCM retrofit. The developed model captures the physics of the phase change processes to predict the transient heat absorption and rejection processes. It will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of proposed candidate implementations and provide input for TMS evaluations.
Parametric studies of the heat transfer model have been conducted to establish desirable structural morphologies and PCM thermophysical properties. Key parameters include surface structural characteristics, conduction enhancing material, surface area, and PCM properties such as melt temperature, heat of fusion, and thermal conductivity.
To demonstrate proof-of-concept, a passive PCM enclosure has been designed to be integrated between a transmission bell housing and torque converter. This PCM-augmented module will temporarily strategically absorb and release heat from the system at a controlled rate. This allows surging fluid temperatures to be clamped below the maximum effective fluid temperature rating thereby increasing component life, reliability, and performance. This work outlines cooling system boundary conditions, mobility/thermal loads, model details, enclosure design characteristics, potential PCM candidates, design considerations, performance data, cooling system impacts, conclusions, and potential future work.