Apr 1, 2022

Esgee Technologies will be presenting at this year’s Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) WCX World Congress Experience held in Detroit, Michigan from April 5th to 7th. Our paper, “Modeling of Switching Characteristics of Hydrogen-Nitrogen Filled DC Contactor Under External Magnetic Field,” was chosen from hundreds of submissions to be featured at the event.

WCX is among the top annual gatherings which provides an intersectional forum between automotive engineers, researchers, scientists, and technical innovators. This year’s topics include EV technology and electrical infrastructure, energy storage and battery disposition, as well as design and safety for automated vehicles.

We sat down with Dr. Rakesh Ranjan, who will be presenting on behalf of EsgeeTech this year, in order to learn more about the applications for this research and how they align with the conference’s goals:


What applications are there for EV relay arcs? And why choose SAE to discuss them?

SAE is the biggest confluence of engineers dedicated to enhancing our mobility in an environmentally friendly manner. If you are excited about the prospect of buying a cleaner vehicle which won’t contribute to environmental pollution, it’s likely that the EV technologies behind it started as concepts presented at an SAE conference. Technologies for the future of mobility have their beginnings right here at SAE conferences.

As for EV relays, it is a critical component for the safety of electric vehicles. With increasing power needs for electric vehicles, there comes an increase in things like battery size and voltage levels required to drive vehicles. An increase in voltage means that electric isolation of safety-critical components would be delayed due to prolonged arcing. So, how safe your vehicle is could ultimately depend on how quickly the arc channel inside the EV relay quenches.

Perhaps it may not be the first feature that consumers think of when it comes to vehicle safety, but for manufacturers and anyone involved in future maintenance on the vehicle, arc-resistant equipment is key to creating a safe environment. For the owner of an electric vehicle, arc-quenching is also a means of decreasing or completely removing the risk of damage from arc flash events. That, of course, is desirable because it means lowered maintenance costs and higher longevity for critical automotive components.

What is the quick takeaway from your talk?

A one-minute synopsis of my talk would be about the use of hydrogen-nitrogen mixtures for quenching of arcs. One typically associates hydrogen with flammability, but it also has fantastically high diffusive properties which could lead to quicker arc quenching. We report how hydrogen concentration leads to smaller arc lifetimes, which in turn improves a circuit’s interruption performance. We simulated contact separation in hydrogen-enriched and pure air environments using VizSpark which showed us that a strong external magnetic field can stretch the arc and reduce its extinction time.

You mention that you used VizSpark™ in your research. Why choose VizSpark™ specifically? What scenarios / applications is it useful for?

VizSpark is a multiphysics CFD solver which is capable of capturing the interaction between the plasma and flow with high fidelity. One thing which I really like about it is its robustness for a wide range of thermal plasma problems. You can throw in tough multiphysics problems: permanent magnets, high voltages and currents, supersonic flows, conjugate heat transfer. In terms of industrial applications, I could think of EV Relays, fuses, and high-voltage circuit breakers. It could also be used for safety assessment in high-voltage applications. For example, if there is local arcing inside a battery pack and you want to assess the root-cause through V-I traces, you could potentially do it in VizSpark.

WCX ’22 Attendees can view Dr. Ranjan’s presentation in the “Electric Motor & Power Electronics” session from 10:00 AM to 10:30 AM CDT on Wednesday, April 6th.



Thanks for reading! If you’re still curious about the topics discussed in this article, check out the following journal papers (and ask us for a free copy!):

Ranjan, Rakesh, et al. Modelling of switching characteristics of hydrogen-nitrogen filled DC contactor under external magnetic field. No. 2022-01-0728. SAE Technical Paper, 2022.

Interested in learning more about plasma flow simulations? Click here to take a look at our previous article. Feel free to follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn for more related news, or reach out to us directly at info@esgeetech.com.