Abstract

The next generation of integrated power electronics packages will implement wide-bandgap devices with ultrahigh device heat fluxes. Although jet impingement has received attention for power electronics thermal management, it is not used in commercial electric vehicles (EVs) because of the associated pressure drop and reliability concerns. In this paper, we present a modular thermal management system designed for automotive power electronics. The system achieves superior thermal performance to benchmarked EVs, while adhering to reliability standards and with low pumping power. The system utilizes a low-cost and lightweight plastic manifold to generate jets over an optimized heat sink, which is embedded in the direct-bonded-copper (DBC) substrate. The embedded heat sink concept leverages additive manufacturing to add elliptical pin fins to the DBC substrate. The heat sink geometry is optimized for submerged jet impingement using a unit-cell model and an exhaustive search algorithm. The model predictions are validated using unit-cell experiments. A full-scale power module model is then used to compare the DBC-embedded heat sink against direct DBC cooling and baseplate-integrated heat sinks for single-sided (SS) and double-sided (DS) cooling concepts. Using the SS and DS DBC-embedded cooling concepts, the models predict a thermal resistance that represents a reduction of 75% and 85% compared to the 2015 BMW i3, respectively, for the same water-ethylene glycol inverter flow rate. We have shown that an inverter with a 100-kilo-Watt-per-liter power density is achievable with the proposed design.

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