Passive Two-Phase Cooling of Automotive Power Electronics: Preprint

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Experiments were conducted to evaluate the use of a passive two-phase cooling strategy as a means of cooling automotive power electronics. The proposed cooling approach utilizes an indirect cooling configuration to alleviate some reliability concerns and to allow the use of conventional power modules. An inverter-scale proof-of-concept cooling system was fabricated, and tests were conducted using the refrigerants hydrofluoroolefin HFO-1234yf and hydrofluorocarbon HFC-245fa. Results demonstrated that the system can dissipate at least 3.5 kW of heat with 250 cm3 of HFC-245fa. An advanced evaporator design that incorporates features to improve performance and reduce size was conceived. Simulation results indicate its thermal resistance can be 37% to 48% lower than automotive dual side cooled power modules. Tests were also conducted to measure the thermal performance of two air-cooled condensers--plain and rifled finned tube designs. The results combined with some analysis were then used to estimate the required condenser size per operating conditions and maximum allowable system (i.e., vapor and liquid) temperatures.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages10
StatePublished - 2014
EventSEMI-THERM - San Jose, California
Duration: 9 Mar 201413 Mar 2014


CitySan Jose, California

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5400-61083


  • power electronics
  • thermal management
  • two-phase heat transfer


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