Design and operation of a thermal harshness test facility for electric motors in hermetic environments

Neal Lawrence, Stefan Elbel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


This paper discusses the design of a test rig used to simulate thermal cycling of drive motor components immersed in transmission fluid used in hybrid electric vehicles. Unique challenges are encountered in this thermal test due the extreme change in viscosity of the fluid between high and low temperature (150°C and -20°C, respectively) as well as the need to simulate powering of the components while undergoing cycling. Addressing the unique challenges requires specific attention to refrigeration system design and control, heat exchanger selection and configuration, fluid pump selection and control, and electrical powering of the motor components. The paper provides details of the test rig and discusses the challenges encountered and specific solutions implemented, with the objective of providing a useful insight for the design of other test rigs for temperature cycling with high-viscosity fluids, especially for the testing of hybrid electric vehicle components.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationICR 2019 - 25th IIR International Congress of Refrigeration
EditorsVasile Minea
PublisherInternational Institute of Refrigeration
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9782362150357
StatePublished - 2019
Event25th IIR International Congress of Refrigeration, ICR 2019 - Montreal, Canada
Duration: Aug 24 2019Aug 30 2019

Publication series

NameRefrigeration Science and Technology
ISSN (Print)0151-1637


Conference25th IIR International Congress of Refrigeration, ICR 2019


  • Electric vehicle components
  • Harshness testing
  • Heat exchanger configuration
  • Pump selection
  • System design
  • Thermal cycling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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