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Research Papers

A Multiphysics Finite Element Model of a 35A Automotive Connector Including Multiscale Rough Surface Contact

[+] Author and Article Information
Santosh V. Angadi, Song-yul Choe, George T. Flowers

 Center for Advanced Vehicle and Extreme Environment Electronics, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849

Robert L. Jackson1

 Center for Advanced Vehicle and Extreme Environment Electronics, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849robert.jackson@eng.auburn.edu

Bong-Yi Lee, Liang Zhong

 LS Cable Company, Ltd., Anyang, Gyeonggi-do, 431-080 South Korea

1

Corresponding author.

J. Electron. Packag 134(1), 011001 (Mar 19, 2012) (12 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4005955 History: Received April 30, 2010; Revised January 19, 2012; Published March 07, 2012; Online March 19, 2012

Electrical contacts influence the reliability and performance of relays, electrical connectors, high power connectors, and similar systems, and are therefore a key region which needs to be considered. In the current study, a new inclusive multiphysics (involving mechanical, electrical, and thermal fields) finite element model (FEM) of a 35A automotive connector has been developed. The contact resistance is predicted using a multiscale rough surface contact method and is embedded in the multiphysics FEM. The coupled connector model is solved to obtain stresses, displacements, contact pressures, electrical and thermal contact resistances, voltage, current density, and temperature distributions. It appears that the current flows mostly through very small regions that are usually near the contacting surfaces in the connector, thereby suggesting that the available conducting material can be more efficiently used by developing optimized connector designs. Through analytical calculations and experimental measurements of temperature rise (ΔT or change in temperature) for the cable and the connector, it is believed that a large portion of the temperature rise in actual 35A connectors is due to the Joule heating in the supply cables. The model is a powerful tool that can be used for the basic connector characterization, prototype evaluation, and design through various material properties, and surface finishes.

Copyright © 2012 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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References

Figures

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Figure 15

Conduction current density distribution (A/mm2 ) in the 35A connector

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Figure 16

Joule heat generation per unit volume (W/mm3 ) in the 35A connector

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Figure 17

Effect of increase in current on the change in temperature in the 35A connector

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Figure 18

The effect of an increase in contact resistance on the maximum conduction current density in the 35A connector

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Figure 19

The effect of an increase in contact resistance on the change in temperature in the 35A connector

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Figure 1

Schematic representation of current and heat flow in 35A connector

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Figure 2

Schematic depicting the decomposition of a surface into superimposed sine waves. Each line represents a different scale of roughness.

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Figure 3

Schematic showing the coupled multiphysics field equations

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Figure 4

Fourier series of connector surface showing asperity amplitude as a function of scale

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Figure 5

The ECR values predicted from the multiscale models to be used in the multiphysics connector model

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Figure 6

35A connector model parts (for modeling analysis)

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Figure 7

General current and heat flow directions in the 35A connector model. The actual flow distribution from FEM may be different and more complex three contact regions are also shown.

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Figure 12

von Mises stress distribution (N/mm2 ) in critical regions of the 35A connector

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Figure 13

Electric potential distribution (V) in the 35A connector

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Figure 14

Temperature distribution (°C) in the 35A connector

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Figure 20

The effect of an increase in contact resistance on the voltage drop in the 35A connector

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Figure 21

The placement of thermocouples and voltage measuring wires

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Figure 22

Connector resistance (R) versus constant current in the 35A connector (with error bars for all four tests)

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Figure 23

Connector temperatures at base (T1) versus constant current in the 35A connector (with error bars for all four tests)

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Figure 24

Connector temperatures at side (T2) versus constant current in the 35A connector (with error bars for all four tests)

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Figure 25

Plot of connector resistance versus applied current from 35A connector model

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Figure 26

Schematic diagram of thermocouple placement on cable and connector

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Figure 27

Experimental variation of cable temperature and connector temperature with time for a 35A connector at 35 A and 40 A applied currents

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Figure 8

Boundary conditions for the 35A connector model

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Figure 9

Flow chart of the 35A connector model

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Figure 10

Displacement (mm) in the 35A connector

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Figure 11

von Mises stress distribution (N/mm2 ) in the 35A connector

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