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Development of a multidisciplinary and optimized design methodology for surface permanent magnets synchronous machines

Alejandro L. Rodríguez González

DIRECTORS: Prof. Alfredo Bermúdez de Castro López-Varela and Dr. Irma Villar Iturbe UNIVERSITY: Universidad de Santiago de Compostela



Electric energy is one of the supports of modern civilization. In the actual context, the electrical machines are of capital importance since most of power plants, from nuclear plants to wind turbines, need an electrical machine working as a generator. Moreover, it is estimated that nowadays the 65% of the total energy supplied by the grid is consumed by electric motors working in an industrial environment. 

Electrical machines are complex systems where a great amount of physical phenomena are produced simultaneously; that is why a proper design requires detailed multidisciplinary models. However, most of the design methodologies and tools are only focused on machine electromagnetic performance in order to achieve power, efficiency and mass to volume ratio goals, performing an adequate more than an optimized design. In the best cases, the features related with other physical domains are taken into account through figures or merit or rules of the thumb based on designer particular experience (e.g. thermal sizing); or even they are treated as an afterthought if needed (typical case of the machine vibro-acoustic performance). 

These approaches are only suitable for very well-known applications where machine features are perfectly known and characterized. However, these methodologies are unsystematic by nature so they have serious difficulties in order to extrapolate the obtained results to a new set of specifications or to more challenging applications where not only electromagnetic criteria but other physical domains, such as vibro-acoustic, should be taken into account. 

More precisely, since the advent of neodymium iron boron (NdFeB) magnets, permanent magnets synchronous machines (PMSM) has become a suitable option both in industrial and domestic applications such as aircraft industry, elevation, electric vehicle or power generation. Due to their attractive features (e.g. high efficiency, compactness and power density) PMSMs are an emerging technology and an attractive field of study, as it is highlighted by the great amount of publications devoted to that topic in the last years. 

Therefore, the thesis main goal is the development of a pioneering PMSM design methodology based on a holistic, multidisciplinary and optimized approach. Moreover, this proposed methodology takes into account not only the electromagnetic and thermal conventional aspects but also the machine vibro-acoustic behaviour. 
In order to fulfil this aim, a complete multiphysical analytical model has been carried out, including a detailed study of the electromagnetic, thermal and vibro-acoustics PMSM features, paying a special attention to these physical domains interactions.

The developed models have been used in order to implement a PMSM design optimized methodology based on an innovative heuristic algorithm labelled Direct Multisearch (DMS). 

In order to validate the physical models, a 75 kW PMSM prototype (IkerMAQ) has been designed and built. A huge amount of tests were carried out and the analytical models have been exhaustively validated, including electromagnetic, thermal and vibro-acoustic domains.

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