IN+ researcher Ana Moita talked to the 90 seconds of science about her current work on developing an efficient cooling system for electric vehicle batteries.
Ana Moita's research group studies how liquids and gases interact with the surfaces of their transport systems. By changing the surface properties of the material or the liquid itself, it is expected to maximize the processes for transporting this liquid in order to reduce the energy required to keep the system running.
When a liquid interacts with a heated surface, that liquid will remove heat from the surface. However, this process does not occur uniformly throughout the entire liquid. This causes the evaporation of the liquid that is in close contact with the surface, which reduces the effectiveness of the liquid in transporting heat and can lead to overheating of the system.
To solve this, Ana Moita's team is modifying the interface of the transport surface to control the evaporation process in order to remove the vapor that is in contact with the surface, while limiting the volume of liquid that is evaporated. This vapor is then carried to a compartment where it will be condensed, returning to the system in liquid form.
“By means of convective and gravitational movements alone, we are able to close the cycle without the need for pumping processes that will obviously need additional energy”, she adds. This way, it will be possible to cool the batteries more efficiently and with less energy consumption.