Integrating contactless energy transfer into electrical devices

(02-12-2021) In his PhD, Matthias Vandeputte investigates how wireless energy transfer can be integrated into electrical devices. This leads to weight savings, potential cost savings and more freedom in design.

Magnetic resonant coupling is a form of wireless energy transfer that allows energy to be transmitted to a receiver without using physical connections such as electrical conductors.

Only recently, in the last two decades, has the technology become viable for use in commercial products, such as electric toothbrushes and smartphone charging surfaces.

The resonant action of the transmitter and receiver coils allows efficient energy transfer across air gaps many times larger than the air gaps in classical electrical machines, such as induction motors and synchronous motors.

"In my dissertation I investigated how magnetic resonance can be integrated into an electrical machine in order to enlarge the air gaps or (partially) replace magnetic materials with resonant coils," explains Matthias Vandeputte.

"This leads to weight savings, possible cost savings and more freedom in design."

His research was conducted in 3 steps. In the first stage, the electrical interactions and force effects between resonant coils were described and validated on a prototype setup.

"Typically, the torque is high for 1 given rotor position. The torque varies greatly over 1 revolution, with 1 optimal position of the shaft. In classical motors, the torque is almost constant over a revolution," explains Matthias. 

In the second phase, the resonant tuning (detuning) of the resonators was varied to increase the torque for all rotor positions. By adjusting the electrical control, the torque was increased for different positions of the shaft and the torque became less variable.

In the third and final step, the physical implementation of this detuning was examined and validated on the prototype. To enable this electrical detuning, a certain electrical component (the variable capacitance) had to be developed and controlled, thus this detuning could be validated on a setup.

"The electrical tuning (detuning) resulted in an increase in average torque of 88% and an increase in maximum torque (peak torque) of 49%. My research contributes to ever better non-contact energy transfer," Matthias concludes.

Read the entire PhD

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PhD Title: Remote Electromechanical Actuation Using Electrically Resonant Power Transfer Systems: Design and Optimal Control

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Contact: Matthias Vandeputte, Guillaume Crevecoeur, Luc Dupré 

Matthias Vandeputte

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Editor: Jeroen Ongenae - Illustrator: Roger Van Hecke