Non-steady experimental investigation on an integrated thermal management system for power battery with phase change materials
A large amount of heat inside the power battery must be dissipated to maintain the temperature in a safe range for the hybrid power train during high-current charging/discharging processes. In this article, a combined experimental and theoretical study has been conducted to investigate a newly designed thermal management system integrating phase change material with air cooling. An unsteady mathematical model was developed for the battery with the integrated thermal management system. Meanwhile, the heat generation power, thermal resistance, and time constant were calculated. The effect of several control parameters, such as thermal resistance, initial temperature, melting temperature and ambient temperature, on the performance of the integrated thermal management system were analyzed. The results indicated that: (1) the calculated temperature rise of the battery was in good agreement with the experimental data. The appropriate operation temperature of the battery was attained by the action of the phase change storage energy unit which is composed of copper foam and n-Eicosane, (2) the remarkable decrease of the battery temperature can be achieved by reducing the convection thermal resistance or increasing the conductivity of the phase change storage energy unit, where the latter could be the better option due to no additional energy consumption. When convective resistance and thermal resistance between the battery surface and the phase change storage energy unit are less than 2.03 K/W and 1.85 K/W, respectively, the battery will not exceed the safety temperature under extreme condition, (3) the temperature rise declines with the decrease of the melting temperature or with the increase of the ambient temperature. It could be possible that the battery temperature exceeds the safety temperature for the high ambient temperature, (4) even if the phase change material is completely melted, the integrated thermal management system can still maintain the battery temperature within the safe range because of the air cooling.