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Title: Electrothermal simulation and characterisation of series connected power devices and converter applications
Author: Davletzhanova, Zarina
ISNI:       0000 0004 8497 8830
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2018
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Power electronics is undergoing significant changes both at the device and at the converter level. Wide bandgap power devices like SiC MOSFETs are increasingly implemented in automotive, grid and industrial drive applications with voltage ratings as high as 1.7kV now commercially available although much higher voltages have been demonstrated as research prototypes. In high power applications where high DC bus voltages are used, as is the case in voltage source converters for industrial drives, marine propulsion and grid connected energy conversion systems, it may be necessary to series connect power devices for OFF-state voltage sharing. In high power applications, before the advent of multi-level converters, series connection of IGBT power modules was commonplace especially for HVDC-voltage source converter applications. However, with the advent of the modular multi-level converter, where the AC voltage waveform is synthesized by discrete voltage steps, the need for series connected is obviated. Most HVDC-VSC applications are now implemented by modular-multi-level converters. However, in some applications like VSCs for distribution network power conversion, there can be a combination between series connection of power devices and multi-level converter. Traditionally, voltage balancing in series connected power devices was achieved using snubber capacitors for dynamic voltage sharing and resistors for static voltage sharing. However, the use of snubber capacitors reduces the switching speed of the converter thereby defeating the purpose of using SiC power devices especially in power converters with high switching frequencies. To avoid this, active gate driving techniques that avoid the use of snubber capacitors during switching are under intensive research focus. This involves intelligent gate drivers capable of dynamically adjusting the gate pulse during switching. To use these gate drivers, it is necessary to explore the boundaries of static and dynamic voltage imbalance in series connected power devices. For example, it is necessary to understand how differences in device junction temperature and gate driver switching rates affects voltage divergence between series connected devices and how this differs between silicon IGBTs and SiC MOSFETs. This is similarly the case between series connected silicon PiN diodes and SiC Schottky diodes. Since silicon IGBTs and PiN diodes respectively exhibit tails currents and reverse recovery during turn-OFF, the dynamics of voltage divergence between series devices will differ from unipolar SiC power devices. Furthermore, the leakage current mechanisms determine the OFF-state voltage balancing dynamics and since Si IGBTs have different leakage current mechanisms from SiC devices, OFF-state voltage balancing in series connected devices will be different between the technologies. The contribution of this thesis is using finite element and compact device models backed by experimental measurements to investigate static and dynamic voltage imbalance in series connected power devices. Starting from the fundamental physics behind device operation, this thesis explores how the leakage currents and tail currents affects voltage divergence in series silicon bipolar devices compared to SiC power devices. This analysis is compared with how the switching dynamics peculiar to fast switching SiC devices affects voltage balancing in series connected SiC devices. Simulations and measurements show that series connected SiC power devices are less prone of excessive voltage divergence due to the absence of tail currents compared to series connected silicon bipolar devices where voltage divergence due to tail currents is evident. Reduced leakage currents due to the wide bandgap in SiC also ensures that it is less prone to voltage divergence (compared to silicon bipolar devices) under static OFF-state conditions. This means the snubber resistances can be increased thereby reducing the OFF-state power dissipation in series connected SiC devices. In the analysis of voltage sharing of series connected devices during the static ON-state and OFF-state it was shown that the zero-temperature coefficient of the power devices determines the voltage sharing and loss distribution in the ON-state while the leakage current and switching synchronization is critical in the OFF-state. Simulations and measurements in this thesis show that the higher ZTC points in silicon bipolar devices compared to SiC unipolar devices means that ON-state voltage divergence depends on the load current. The dominant failure mode for series connected power devices is failure under dynamic avalanche which occurs in cases of extreme uncontrolled voltage divergence. In the investigations of the switching transient behaviour of series connected IGBT and SiC MOSFETs during turn-OFF, it was shown that the voltage imbalance for Si IGBT is highly dependent on the carrier concentration in the drift region during switching while for SiC MOSFET it depends on the switching time constant of the gate voltage and the rate that the MOS-channel cuts the current. The thesis also explores the limits of power device performance under dynamic avalanche conditions for both series silicon bipolar and SiC unipolar devices. In the analysis of SOA of series connected devices it was discussed that the SOA is reduced by increased switching rates and DC link voltages. Finally, the thesis explores the 3L-NPC converter and how the power factor of the load on the AC side of the converter alters the power dissipation sharing between the devices. The results show that loss distribution between the devices in the converter is not just affected by the load power factor but also by the switching frequency.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: TK Electrical engineering. Electronics Nuclear engineering