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Energies 2018, 11(5), 1276; https://doi.org/10.3390/en11051276

A Numerical Study on the Light-Weight Design of PTC Heater for an Electric Vehicle Heating System

1
Green Car Power System R&D Division, Korea Automotive Technology Institute, 303 Pungse-Ro, Pungse-Myeon, Cheonan-Si 330-912, Chungnam, Korea
2
Donga High Tech Company, Dongtangiheung-Road, Dongtan-Myeon, Hwaseong-Si 445-813, Gyunggi-Do, Korea
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 4 May 2018 / Revised: 10 May 2018 / Accepted: 15 May 2018 / Published: 16 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fluid Flow and Heat Transfer)
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Abstract

As the market for electric vehicles grows at a remarkable rate, various models of electric vehicles are currently in development, in parallel to the commercialization of components for diverse types of power supply. Cabin heating and heat management components are essential to electric vehicles. Any design for such components must consider the requirements for heating capacity and power density, which need to reflect both the power source and weight reduction demand of any electric vehicle. In particular, design developments in electric heaters have predominantly focused on experimental values because of structural characteristics of the heater and the variability of heat sources, requiring considerable cost and duration. To meet the ever-changing demands of the market, an improved design process for more efficient models is essential. To improve the efficacy of the design process for electric heaters, this study conducted a Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis of an electric heater with specific dimensions by changing design parameters and operating conditions of key components. The CFD analysis modeled heat characteristics through the application of user-defined functions (UDFs) to reflect temperature properties of Positive Temperature Coefficient (PTC) elements, which heat an electric heater. Three analysis models, which included fin as well as PTC elements and applied different spaces between the heat rods, were compared in terms of heating performance. In addition, the heat performance and heat output density of each analysis model was analyzed according to the variation of air flow at the inlet of the radiation section of an electric heater. Model B was selected, and a prototype was fabricated based on the model. The performance of the prototype was evaluated, and the correlation between the analysis results and the experimental ones was identified. The error rate between performance change rates was approximately 4%, which indicated that the reliability between the design model and the prototype was attained. Consequently, the design range of effective performance and the guideline for lightweight design could be presented based on the simulation of electric heaters for various electric vehicles. The fabrication of prototypes and minimum comparison demonstrated opportunities to reduce both development cost and duration. View Full-Text
Keywords: performance characteristics; Positive Temperature Coefficient (PTC) elements; heat transfer; thermal performance; Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulation; air heater performance characteristics; Positive Temperature Coefficient (PTC) elements; heat transfer; thermal performance; Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulation; air heater
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Kang, H.S.; Sim, S.; Shin, Y.H. A Numerical Study on the Light-Weight Design of PTC Heater for an Electric Vehicle Heating System. Energies 2018, 11, 1276.

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