Electric Motor Thermal Management R&D: NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory)

Kevin Bennion

Research output: NRELPresentation


Thermal constraints place significant limitations on how electric motors ultimately perform. Without the ability to remove heat, the motor cannot operate without sacrificing performance, efficiency, and reliability. Finite element analysis and computational fluid dynamics modeling approaches are being increasingly utilized in the design and analysis of electric motors. As the models become more sophisticated, it is important to have detailed and accurate knowledge of both the passive thermal performance and the active cooling performance. In this work, we provide an overview of research characterizing both passive and active thermal elements related to electric motor thermal management. To better characterize the passive thermal performance, work is being performed to measure motor material thermal properties and thermal contact resistances. The active cooling performance of automatic transmission fluid (ATF) jets is also being measured to better understand the heat transfer coefficients of ATF impinging on motor copper windings.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages29
StatePublished - 2015

Publication series

NamePresented at the Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) Annual Merit Review and Peer Evaluation, 8-12 June 2015, Washington, D.C.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-5400-64038


  • automatic transmission fluid
  • cooling
  • electric machine
  • electric motors
  • end windings
  • heat transfer
  • laminations
  • slot windings


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