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In modern electric equipment, especially electric vehicles, inverter control systems can lead to complex shaft voltages and bearing currents. Within an electric motor, many parts have electrical failure problems, and among which bearings are the most sensitive and vulnerable components. In recent years, electrical failures in bearing have been frequently reported in electric vehicles, and the electrical failure of bearings has become a key issue that restricts the lifetime of all-electric motor-based power systems in a broader sense. The purpose of this review is to provide a comprehensive overview of the bearing premature failure in the mechanical systems exposed in an electrical environment represented by electric vehicles. The electrical environments in which bearing works including the different components and the origins of the shaft voltages and bearing currents, as well as the typical modes of electrical bearing failure including various topographical damages and lubrication failures, have been discussed. The fundamental influence mechanisms of voltage/current on the friction/ lubrication properties have been summarized and analyzed, and corresponding countermeasures have been proposed. Finally, a brief introduction to the key technical flaws in the current researches will be made and the future outlook of frontier directions will be discussed.


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Electrical bearing failures in electric vehicles

Show Author's information Feng HEGuoxin XIE( )Jianbin LUO( )
State Key Laboratory of Tribology, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China

Abstract

In modern electric equipment, especially electric vehicles, inverter control systems can lead to complex shaft voltages and bearing currents. Within an electric motor, many parts have electrical failure problems, and among which bearings are the most sensitive and vulnerable components. In recent years, electrical failures in bearing have been frequently reported in electric vehicles, and the electrical failure of bearings has become a key issue that restricts the lifetime of all-electric motor-based power systems in a broader sense. The purpose of this review is to provide a comprehensive overview of the bearing premature failure in the mechanical systems exposed in an electrical environment represented by electric vehicles. The electrical environments in which bearing works including the different components and the origins of the shaft voltages and bearing currents, as well as the typical modes of electrical bearing failure including various topographical damages and lubrication failures, have been discussed. The fundamental influence mechanisms of voltage/current on the friction/ lubrication properties have been summarized and analyzed, and corresponding countermeasures have been proposed. Finally, a brief introduction to the key technical flaws in the current researches will be made and the future outlook of frontier directions will be discussed.

Keywords:

electric vehicles, bearing, premature failure, electrical environment, shaft voltage
Received: 08 September 2019 Revised: 26 November 2019 Accepted: 17 December 2019 Published: 23 January 2020 Issue date: February 2020
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Publication history

Received: 08 September 2019
Revised: 26 November 2019
Accepted: 17 December 2019
Published: 23 January 2020
Issue date: February 2020

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© The author(s) 2019

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 51822505 and 51527901), Tsinghua University Initiative Scientific Research Program (Grant No. 2019Z08QCX11), and Beijing Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 3182010).

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