Electric motors are a common element of countless industries, serving to transform electrical energy into harnessable mechanical energy. Motors are crucial for the operation of many devices, finding use in anything from coffee grinders to large industrial machinery. Over the years, electrical motors have become quite advanced, capable of operating with efficiency ratings around 90% or higher. The remaining percentage is lost in the form of heat, and thus it is important that proper thermal management is upheld to prevent any issues that could detract from performance or part health. In this blog, we will discuss electric motor cooling systems, those of which are used to control the buildup of heat through proper removal.
There are many types of cooling systems that one may take advantage of, and common examples include air, liquid, heat pipe, and hybrid cooling types. The best fit will often come down to the intended application, operating environment, motor mounting location, and other such factors. To explain how cooling is generally conducted, we will use the liquid cooling type as an example. In these assemblies, liquid jackets serve to supply cooling fluids to the motor corner, while rotor liquid cooling is upheld with the motor shaft cooling channel. As the coolant flows through the stator and shaft cooling channels, thermal flux will be absorbed to reduce heat. Meanwhile, the external environment serves as a heat evacuation medium that ensures heat dissipation.
Within the stator channel, the coolant liquid will flow axially from the front of the motor to the rear, and it will exit out of surfaces near the back of the assembly. This entire process ensures that cooling is optimal. In addition to the use of cooling channels and coolants, these motors will also utilize end-windings potting and channels, highly conductive resins, and other such components that promote better thermal management.
With a basic understanding of liquid cooling systems, one can better see how air, heat pipe, and hybrid cooling types work as well. Heat pipes are considered one of the most efficient heat exchanger devices for thermal management, and they are known for reliably assisting assemblies in heat removal. For their functionality, heat pipes utilize an evaporator to transform working fluids into a vapor that is then directed down the heat pipe to a condenser. At the condenser, heat is removed as the vapor condenses. With a hybrid system, dry and evaporating cooling is combined to provide heat rejection while reducing water and energy consumption for more efficiency.
Depending on whether you are trying to cool electric motors for aircraft, industrial machinery, or a laptop, the choice between electric motors and cooling systems will vary. As cooling systems and electric motors will be faced with a variety of stresses during standard operations, it is important that they are regularly inspected and maintained. If you find yourself in need of repair or replacement parts, look no further than Aviation Parts Circuit for all your operational needs.
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